The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.
Discretion is advised.
WRITTEN BY JEREMY ENFINGER
SCENE 1: RESERVATION: FATHER / MARGARET
EXT: HEAVY RAIN AND THUNDER AS FATHER AND DAUGHTER, MARGARET, APPROACH LUCIUS’S FRONT DOOR.
MARGARET: I’m scared, father.
FATHER: Oh Margaret, there’s really no reason to be.
MARGARET: But what if he doesn’t like me? What if I don’t get picked?
FATHER: Then… that’s okay. Not every family member gets chosen for the inheritance.
(footsteps change from in mud to on wood)
FATHER: And even if you don’t get picked now, you could always get picked in the future… when you’re a little older. Come on, let’s go inside where it’s warm.
(Father jiggles door handle)
MARGARET: (pouty) But wait!
FATHER: What is it, sweetie?
MARGARET: Are you going to be upset if I’m not picked?
FATHER: No, sweetheart. You know I’m very proud of you, right?
MARGARET: Yes, father.
FATHER: And your mother was very proud of you too before she passed.
MARGARET: I know.
FATHER: Hey, did you know that I didn’t get picked the first time? It took me three years to get picked!
MARGARET: (uplifted) Really!!
FATHER: …And your mother… Well, she did much better than I did. She was picked her second year.
MARGARET: So it’s okay if he doesn’t like me this year?
FATHER: Oh, it has nothing to do with liking you or disliking you. Tonight is all about just getting to know you. You want to get to know your relatives, don’t you?
MARGARET: Yes, father.
FATHER: So, when we go inside, I’m going to introduce you, and he’s just going to ask you some harmless questions… to get to know you, okay? That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
MARGARET: No. That sounds easy.
FATHER: It is incredibly easy, and you’re going to do great. And since I already know you, don’t you think I know what I’m talking about?
MARGARET: (chipper) Yeah.
FATHER: Okay, now… Are you ready to meet some more of your family?
MARGARET: (excited) Yes!!
FATHER: Okay, that’s my girl! Let’s get inside and warm up!
(thunder rolls as they walk in the door and close it)
SCENE 2: TRADITION: FATHER / LUCIUS / MARGARET
INT: Fireplace raging with Lucius sitting in a recliner next to it. Father introduces Margaret to Lucius. Margaret approaches, hesitant to engage in conversation.
FATHER: Wait here a moment and I’ll call you over.
(walking away several steps toward Lucius)
FATHER: (at distance) Lucius, we’ve arrived.
LUCIUS: Ah yes, very well. Send her in.
FATHER: Of course. I’ll be anxiously waiting to hear from you. I’m getting hungry!
LUCIUS: As am I… as am I.
FATHER: Margaret, dear. Come over here. I’d like to introduce you to someone.
FATHER: This, Margaret, is Lucius. Lucius, my daughter Margaret.
MARGARET: Hello? Are you my grandpa?
LUCIUS: (weak/frail sounding) Well, not exactly, my dear. But I knew your grandfather well. And your mother… you have her eyes and her nose (laughs weakly).
LUCIUS: Oh you most definitely do.
(to Father) The family is out back with everyone else. You know the way.
(to Margaret) Come here little one, and sit next to an old man by the fireplace. Let me get to know you.
MARGARET: (joyful) Okay. Father told me you’re going to ask me some questions.
LUCIUS: Why yes, I will. But I want to tell you a story first… as long as you can promise me two things.
MARGARET: Of course! What two things?
LUCIUS: First, there’s always a lesson to be learned from one of my stories. You must promise me you will take this lesson and apply it to your life.
MARGARET: Okay, that should be easy. What’s the second thing?
LUCIUS: You can’t tell anyone this story outside of family. Can you keep a secret?
MARGARET: That’s silly, but okay.
LUCIUS: I’m quite serious now… mum’s the word! If you ever do get tempted and tell someone…
(eerie music intensifies)
LUCIUS: (cont’d) I’ll know!
(emphasis on “I’ll know” and voice effects, voice grows strong and deep, echoes with a growl)
MARGARET: (almost amused) Okay… I promise.
LUCIUS: (voice is comforting, returning to normal) You understand my terms for telling you this story?
MARGARET: Um… to use its lesson in my life and don’t tell anyone the story.
LUCIUS: Spot on! That’s a good girl!
MARGARET: (joyful) You’re silly… can I hear the story now?
LUCIUS: Yes dear. Are you ready?
LUCIUS: Okay. Here we go. There was once a man who traveled West. The days were long and hard traveling by horse and wagon, and he made camp each night, cooking by a fire he would make near his wagon, moving to new locations each day.
The man traveled alone, but after weeks of traveling, he began to believe he was being followed. Day after day, night after night, he was convinced he saw movement in the corner of his eye. He would constantly look over his shoulder hoping to catch a clear glimpse of someone or something that he was certain was behind him, but he was never able to. After enough time, he began to live every moment of his life in fear, and he began to develop a cruel disposition.
One night near the end of his travels, he had nearly run out of food and he did not know how much longer it would take to reach his destination. After making camp, he had an idea that would not only relieve his hunger, but would serve as entertainment to distract him from his paranoia of being followed, and he hoped it might satiate his new found need for cruelty.
You see, he had come across a variety of creatures, snakes, and vermin he had never before witnessed in his travels. He was so fascinated by them that he collected them in baskets and took them with him during his journey.
So, that night by his camp fire, he emptied two of the baskets very close to one another and watched the creatures that came out of them in hopes they would fight to the death. And he planned to cook whichever one lost the fight as his dinner for that evening.
So, he sat on a tree stump as he watched a snake and a fox on the ground in front of him. Both of them had been disoriented after he released them from their baskets, but they did not quarrel. The man grew impatient and began throwing pebbles and sticks at them to instigate a fight. But the creatures did not fight, for they were both weak and hungry, having spent days in those baskets.
As the man resigned his hopes for entertainment, he began to ponder which he would have for dinner, considering he’d have to kill it himself. As he sharpened his knife, a great beast which had been following him for days came from the shadows and crept up behind him. It lunged at him and killed the man in an instant. It happened so quickly that the man never saw the beast, and it devoured him right there while the snake and the fox observed.
So Margaret, what did you think about this story?
MARGARET: It’s a really weird story. But I liked it!
LUCIUS: And what was the lesson of the story, Margaret?
MARGARET: Well, it didn’t have a happy ending.
LUCIUS: (prompting more) Yes?
MARGARET: And the man wasn’t very smart.
LUCIUS: Oh? And why is that?
MARGARET: Well, it doesn’t matter what kind of person or animal you are… there’s always going to be something else that will eat you.
LUCIUS: Very perceptive, dear Margaret. So then, who was the villain in this story? The fox, the snake, the man, or the great beast?
MARGARET: Well… the fox and the snake didn’t do anything wrong.
LUCIUS: That leaves the man and the great beast.
MARGARET: Well they were both just trying to eat, but the man was mean about it.
LUCIUS: Why, my dear?
MARGARET: He wanted to watch the fox and snake fight and hurt each other just for fun.
LUCIUS: And how was the beast different?
MARGARET: The beast ate the man, but he killed him fast.
LUCIUS: And do you think it was wrong for the beast to kill the man?
MARGARET: No. It’s just an animal and if it didn’t kill the man then he would just be hungry.
LUCIUS: Very good, Margaret. Now… Do you remember what two things you promised me before I told you that story?
MARGARET: (excited) Ooh ooh yes!
LUCIUS: What were they, my dear?
MARGARET: That I wouldn’t tell anyone the story at all… well, unless they’re in our family.
LUCIUS: And the second promise?
MARGARET: Um… that I would use the lesson from the story in my life.
LUCIUS: VERY good! So, what was the lesson, Margaret?
MARGARET: To not be cruel.
LUCIUS: Mmm hmm.
MARGARET: And to never travel alone.
LUCIUS: (laughs) You are a bright one, Margaret! So young, and so perceptive. You’ve done splendidly! There are two more lessons I want you to take with you from that story. Are you ready to hear them?
MARGARET: Yes. But did I mess up?
LUCIUS: No, my dear. You were amazing! I don’t expect anyone to know about these next two lessons until I tell them. Once I do, you’ll understand.
MARGARET: Oh, okay. What are they?
LUCIUS: First, the man was without family. Family is everything, Margaret. If you must be separated from family, do not let it be for so long. It’s a strict rule that our people live by!
MARGARET: Okay, I understand.
LUCIUS: And second: trust your instincts. Do you know what instincts are?
LUCIUS: Instincts are just feelings. Like when the man thought he was being followed all that time during his travels. He actually was being followed. They’re just feelings you get that you should trust. And we all have them.
MARGARET: Like when I can tell if someone is good or if they’re bad?
LUCIUS: Exactly like that, but before they actually do something to show you that they’re good or bad. Instincts can be developed, but you have to learn to trust them. The moment the man in the story stopped thinking about his, he was devoured by the beast, remember?
MARGARET: I understand. Thanks for telling me that story.
LUCIUS: You’re welcome, child. Why don’t we go and find your father?
SCENE 3: THE PARTY: LUCIUS / MARGARET / FATHER
EXT: LUCIUS WALKS MARGARET TO MEET HER FATHER BEHIND THE HOUSE. THERE’S MUSIC COMING FROM THE STABLE AND IT’S RAINING.
LUCIUS: Help me find your father, dear.
MARGARET: Wow, who are all these people?
LUCIUS: They’re all family, and they’re all very excited to meet you.
MARGARET: But they don’t look like me. Some of them have different skin colors. Some of them have different hair.
LUCIUS: When I say “family,” I don’t necessarily mean in the way your school teacher or your friends use the word “family” – implying your mother and father.
MARGARET: What do you mean?
LUCIUS: Well, a family can be a group of descendants sharing the same ancestors. If your ancestors are old enough, over generations, people look less and less like each other, but they are still family. Or…
LUCIUS: It can mean a very close group of people with similar traits. They’re like us, Margaret.
MARGARET: Oh! There’s father!
FATHER: See? Nothing to worry about! And in your very first year!
MARGARET: What do you mean, father? Does that mean I was picked?
FATHER: Yes, Margaret. You wouldn’t be back here with the family unless you were.
MARGARET: So does that mean I get my in-hair-tense?
FATHER: Inheritance… yes! And at such a young age!
MARGARET: But what is my in-hair-tense, father?
FATHER: You’re about to find out, Margaret. Lucius will make the announcement.
(fork dings on glass as Lucius calls the family’s attention to a toast)
LUCIUS: Listen up everyone! Listen up! I have an announcement to make. And this body of mine doesn’t allow me to speak loudly. (pause)
(to Margaret) Margaret, come stand next to me dear.
(to crowd) I have with me tonight a very special young girl, whose mother was taken from us far too soon this past year. And maintaining tradition, I have met with the girl… and deemed her worthy!
LUCIUS: (cont’d) The cycle continues as the eldest male and the eldest female in each line receives their ancestral inheritance, if found forthright and just, and able to distinguish evil intention. I present to you, Margaret.
LUCIUS: (cont’d) May we all bear witness, as family, as Margaret undergoes the change. I know you’re all hungry and I could eat a horse myself…
LUCIUS: (cont’d) …So without further delay, Margaret, please drink this now.
FATHER: (close to Margaret) Go ahead, we’ve all done it.
LUCIUS: And let us all make our way to the stable now to join the party, where our other guests have gathered and are enjoying our hospitality, though they deserve no such thing!
(loud cheers, then fade into background)
MARGARET: Will it hurt, father?
FATHER: Maybe for just a second, but it goes away really fast. Let’s move. You get to go into the stable first.
MARGARET: Are they all really bad people, father?
FATHER: Yes, dear. I can assure you that none of these people deserve to live. Do you recall the large man that visited us just before your mother passed?
MARGARET: Is he the one that…
FATHER: Yes, dear. He’s the one that murdered your mother, and because of his wealth and social stature, he has not faced justice.
MARGARET: But don’t you want to do it, father?
FATHER: Nothing would make me more proud than to watch my only daughter instill justice on the man that has brought us so much pain over the last year.
MARGARET: Ugh… my stomach hurts, father!
FATHER: That’s supposed to happen. You’re about to feel more hungry than you’ve ever felt in your life. Give into the hunger once we open those stable doors, Margaret, but not before then.
SCENE 4: FEAST: LUCIUS / FATHER / MARGARET / FAMILY
EXT: The family arrives at the stable, where there is music playing loudly inside. All of the people inside are about to be eaten as transformations of each family member are about to take place.
LUCIUS: Okay everyone, remember tradition! Margaret, my dear… the first transformation is the most uncomfortable. You will feel hunger and rage, but we direct it toward those inside the stable tonight, and never at family.
MARGARET: (uncomfortable) Are we like vampires or werewolves or something?
LUCIUS: No, my dear. We’re something… different.
(voice gets younger-sounding/stronger) But we are feared just the same.
(shouting) Ready at the doors!
MARGARET: (straining, voice growing deeper and raspy) I’m ready father!
FATHER: Remember, he’s the large man in a gray suit. Everyone will wait until you take him before they start attacking. I’ll be right there, sweetie.
(Margaret growling and in pain)
LUCIUS: (growl-speak) Margaret, are you ready?
LUCIUS: Open the doors!
(music stops, crowd gasps, and growling, gory flesh-tearing murder noises happen with screaming)