Claire tells the harrowing story of her encounter with some unsavoury survivors. Whilst Jim shares an uncomfortable truth with Elliot. //
Explicit content// This is a horror audio drama, intended to scare you and make you uncomfortable - Discretion advised//Content Warnings at the end of show notes]
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SPOILERS BELOW - Do not read these credits until you have finished the show if you wish to avoid spoilers. //
Written, directed and produced by Shaun Pellington //
With voice acting from:
Kieran Walsh as Professor Ryan
Brianne Leeson as Claire
Shaun Pellington as Elliot
Lee Pellington as Roman
Harlan Guthrie as Jim//
Intro theme-"Phantasm", Outro theme - "Shadowlands 5 - Antechamber"
Kevin MacLeod [incompetech.com]
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0
Both pieces are reduced from their originals with fade out effects/Character voice-over/Radio static SFX. //
Sound FX: Soundsnap.com // Additional sound effects from https://www.zapsplat.com//
Morse Code SFX from: morsecode.world //
Cover Art: Original picture taken by Emily Fitzgerald @emily.fitz_photography with 'Wake Of Corrosion' title design by Matt Fair//
Full credits can be found at: https://wakeofcorrosion.carrd.co/ //
[Content Warnings: threat, description of knife related murder, assault, mention of asbestos]
Thank you for listening and remember...don't wander in the dark.
S02-E06: In Here // Out There
[Intro music - 5 sec]
Narrator: Wake Of Corrosion Season 2 - Episode 6: In Here//Out There
[Muffled sounds can be heard as someone switches on a recording device and moves it into the correct position]
Prof Ryan: [spoken in a solemn voice] This is Professor Ryan of Bunker A:12. This is a public broadcast to any Survivors out there. Before I begin, please be aware that I advise listener discretion going forward, as some of the content of this broadcast can be unsettling or disturbing.
[SFX: Morse code]
Ryan: Welcome back my friends. Last time I promised to return with news of Claire as soon as I could and I’m glad to say that I have just that. She, for now at least, safe. I received a message from her later in the same evening of the previous broadcast and was able to record her transmission. I’d like to share it with you now, in fact.
[SFX: Recorder click]
Claire: [recording starts part way through a sentence] So, you want the listeners to know what happened?
Ryan: Aye, and I’ve just set up the recording as well Claire, so we can share it when we’re able. I just feel as though whatever you’ve been through...if others know what’s going on out there. If they know what they might be able to do, it...it could help.
Claire: Well I can’t say I did anything special. But...well it’s late and I’m sure I’m alone now so I don’t see how [said in a joke-mocking tone] a little bedtime story could go wrong .
Let’s see..uh...well obviously it started when I saw those people outside that store a while back. You know, the whole sacrificial…-Yeah I don’t really need to go into it any more than that do I?
Well, after I’d left that area, I thought I was done with them. Turns out they weren’t done with me. I don’t know whether they followed me from there or, more likely, it was the person I knocked out...but they found me, either way. I was just going through the last village before Ralford, there’s really not much else after that place before the Observatory so I wanted to stock up as best I could. And, of course, that’s when they chose to try and grab me.
It was clear right away that they didn’t want to kill me...which to be honest made it worse. I just couldn’t help but imagine what they were going to do to me. What they’d sacrifice me to if they caught me. It was in an old village house, one of those that still has the original beams sticking out of the ceiling. I was just getting the last of some decent canned food out of the pantry and I heard the latch on the front door. It has those old style barn doors, the ones that seperate, you know? So they’re never quiet. No matter how hard you try.
I suppose the blessing of there being pretty much no-one around is that you can hear everything around you...the downside being that every little noise makes you jump. I’m glad it did in this case. I immediately grabbed a knife from the cutting block and threw my bag back on. Looking back, it was a stupid idea to grab the knife really. I walked over to the kitchen door and stopped to listen. I could faintly hear the sound of someone whispering. I can still hear them so clearly, their voice was...it was husky like they were ill or damaged in some way. [said in a mock rough, husky sounding voice] “Stay on the door and snatch her when she runs out”. They wanted me to run Ryan...they wanted to chase me.
I was not having some sick fuckers chasing me. Not today. Not ever. I gripped the knife tightly and crept out of the kitchen. Through the banister on the stairs I could see one of them waiting by the door. I had to resist the urge to stare at her for longer than I did. I just wanted to take in what kind of a person would be like this. Her hair was matted to her head and seemed to end in a sort of braid that came over her shoulder, though what was braided into it, I’d hate to guess. They were off-white and jagged. She wasn’t wearing anything on her torso, it was just smeared grey and a rust-orange in some sort of pattern. It reached up around her neck and crept across the lower half of her face. The markings were like...like something gripping her body. Around her waist there just seemed to be a tattered skirt with a thick utility belt over the top.
The things that hung on that belt were hideous. And I don’t mean hideous like body parts or sick trinkets. I mean the makeshift weapons. These weren’t meant for killing quickly, they were meant for maiming and goring things. People. They were meant for a slow death.
I could feel my heart creeping into my throat. So loud it was pounding my ears I almost kidded myself for a second that they might hear it. Just before I ducked back down, I noticed something about her. The woman by the door. She looked on edge, uncomfortable...fidgety. Someone like her wasn’t going to wait by the door...not for long anyway. I’d already been in the house a while so I found somewhere to hide. The downstairs bathroom had a storage closet in there, I knew I could fit in if I moved some of the towels out of the way. As quietly as I could I squeezed into that gap.
I stayed in there for about 15 minutes before I heard footsteps heading upstairs. I listened closely and tried to pick out whether it was multiple sets or just the one. As far as I could tell there were only two of them in there with me, I knew I’d have to take this chance sooner rather than later.
That’s when I radioed you. I thought if I was going to do this, I had to let you know. For everything you’ve done for me I had to let you know. Which of course...well you know how that played out. After a close call with someone walking past, they came back and flung the door to my hiding space open.
[reminded of the fear it made you feel] The way her face lit up when she saw me Her darken sunken eyes with a dull shine that matched her matted hair stared directly at me. I immediately lunged forward with the knife in my right hand. There wasn’t a chance in hell I was letting this of a person do anything to me. She tried to grab my hand before it got to her body and redirected the knife toward me. The power of her grip around my arm took me by surprise and the knife slashed across my opposite forearm. I screamed as a white-hot pain shot down my arm. Refusing to let up I turned my left shoulder toward her and pushed against the floor and door frame as hard as I could. It sent both of us flying across the room toward the sink. There was a loud thud and she slumped to the ground. I thought at first she’d somehow hit her head and that’d knocked her out. But I soon felt this sickeningly warm wet feeling around my hand. The one that was holding the knife. I don’t remember doing that. I don’t even remember thinking to do that. I was just lashing out, fighting as best I could to not be on the receiving end of one of those things on her belt. And there just was, in a growing pool of blood. For a few seconds I forgot I was still holding the knife, I was just staring at her in shock.
When I finally snapped out of it I dragged my bag out of the closet, radioed you and bolted for the door. I heard the other one barrelling down the stairs after me with this haunting howling call that sounded so animalistic but so human at the same time. I didn’t for a second dare look back. I just ran and ran until I could feel my muscles burning and every breath felt like fire.
With blood still staining my right hand and pouring down my left my, I did everything I could think of to disguise which way I was going. I stopped for a moment, knowing that I’d need to stop the bleeding from my arm, at least with something temporary. I didn’t fight through all that to be finished off by bloodloss. After doing the best I could I tried to calm myself down, tried to quiet my panic so I could focus, so I could listen. There was something there. Something on the edge of my hearing, I just couldn’t make out what it was.
Then, like a dawning realisation it came into focus. It wasn’t just a singular sound. It was an awful mix of a sputtering car engine and that screams of someone in absolute agony. [a pause] I don’t know whether it was one of them or they’d somehow found someone else hiding in that village. I know it’s selfish and wrong but I felt relieved. I feel sick with myself saying this but I felt complete relief that they were distracted, that whatever had happened their focus wasn’t on me any more. And as I listened my heart slowed and my head stopped pulsing and I heard the sound change and grow more and more distant. And my relief grew and my body eased.
[a long pause]
There was still blood staining my hand when I could no longer walk and had to find somewhere to stop. I’d made it to a nature reserve, it’s where I am now. I’m up on this bank with a bench at the top that’s carved like a bird with outstretched wings. It feels almost protective, the way it’s eyes are facing out across the view. The view...that’s the reason I chose this place. From up here you can see the whole surrounding area, especially the enormous radio telescope at Ralford. It’s nice to finally see it, to know I’m close and it doesn’t look damaged...not from here anyway. At first it was so quiet up here, but in the early evening, before I radioed you, I started to hear birds singing. [absolutely delighted] I could hear birds, Ryan, I can’t remember the last time that happened. It was so nice not to feel alone for once. I know they want nothing to do with me, but just hearing them was enough. Then I realised why I couldn’t hear them before. They stopped singing because of me, because they heard my footsteps and got scared. That’s when I knew I’d chosen a good spot. I had my own guardians...I guess the bird bench wasn’t just a metaphor after all. Once I got settled and treated my wounds I figured out that if I lay below the bench in my sleeping bag no-one from below or nearby could see me. But if I knelt just in front of it I could see enough around me to know if someone was coming long before they made it to me.
I can’t say I feel completely safe here, but it’s about as good as it gets and the birds are still singing, so I know it’s gonna be okay.
Ryan: Are you sure your wounds are clean and bandaged properly Claire?
Claire: [sighs] Yes Ryan. I know I lost a lot of my memories but I still know a few things. I’ll be fine.
Ryan: I’m just making sure. You’ve been through an awful lot.
Claire: [yawning] Which is exactly why, I’m heading to sleep for the night, whilst the birds are still chirping away.
Ryan: Yes, you should sleep whilst you can Claire. I...I’m sorry I put you through this.
Claire: Are you kidding me? Ryan, I chose this. You’re the one who tried to stop me, don’t you remember? Look, something worse could’ve happened if I hadn't been heading toward Ralford. We won’t ever know either way...but we do know that I was going to be out here regardless. So don’t go apologising to me. I chose this. Okay?
Ryan: If you insist...I’ll let you rest shall I?
Claire: I’ll contact you in the morning. I should be a Ralford soon. Claire out.
[SFX: Recording stops]
Ryan: As I know you’ll be burning with this question Survivors, Claire made it safely through the night and is making her way toward the observatory as we speak. I’m feeling more hopeful now than ever that she could find something there which will boost our research into the awful situation we all find ourselves in.
Until then, however, we shall continue to review what we have of Roman and Elliot’s story.
Our next piece is from Elliot’s journal, written on their first night in A:7.
Elliot: He smells of old alcohol. The smell of it always made me feel sick. The morning following a teenage house party was always the worst. The smell of old cheap beer is revolting. I suppose at least in Jim’s case it’s old whiskey...so it’s not as bad as cheap beer. Well, it wouldn’t be that bad if that vinegary hint to it didn’t bring back hideous memories and wading through the woods at night searching for Roman only to find him in a mess of tendrils.
I shouldn’t speak too badly of him really, Jim that is. He actually seems like a pretty decent guy. A bit rough around the edges though. Seems like he’s had things his way most his life...not in a privileged sort of way, more of a natural leader sort of way. Sometimes I feel like for all the times he says ‘Son’ or ‘Listen here’, it’s from years of talking down to someone else, a child or a work colleague. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I can’t remember the last time I saw another sane person and I’m just afraid that this guy is going to turn out to be a madman like the rest of them.
The cafeteria that he showed us really made me feel uncomfortable. Have you ever seen those pictures from Chernobyl? Y’know the ones I mean, where everything is just abandoned. Like it was dropped and left. Never to be touched again. That’s how that room felt. Everything has just been left in there, untouched, unfinished. Abandoned. And on top of all that it had a very strong quarantine vibe. It’s hard to explain. Like when you know something is dangerous but it doesn’t look it, not until someone tells you it is. The closest thing I can think of is when Roman and I used to play in the shed in the garden when we were kids and it wasn’t until we were older that our parents found out it was made of asbestos. Suddenly, the shed where you could play became this monolith of foreboding. All the positive memories of that place were desecrated by the thought of those sharp splintering shards, invisibly there, no idea whether you’d breathed any in. I imagine that’s how Jim feels about the cafeteria, in fact I know it is. The way he looked at it said it all. He’d never go any further than that doorway, that was his rule and ‘Ain’t nobody tellin’ me otherwise’ he’d say, I’m sure.
I feel exactly how I thought I would in here. Trapped. I don’t feel like we’ve found safety, or like we’ve finally got a sanctuary to rest in. I just feel trapped, cornered. I can’t stop thinking about the things that we heard on our way through the tunnels to get into this auxiliary bunker and the things that I know are outside. Roman keeps talking about how nice it is to have a locked blast door between him and the outside world and all I can think of is how the things outside don’t care about our flimsy human blast doors or our bunkers. Because from everything I’ve seen, they don’t play by our rules, they don’t give a damn about our rules. Not one bit. That’s why I’m missing two fingers. Why Roman can’t remember being hypnotised into the woods. Why he had tendrils coming from under his fingernails...Jesus just writing that makes me feel sick. I still can’t bear to look at his hands, even now.
I’m scared about tomorrow. I listened back to the recording we made earlier and it was strange, Roman seemed so different in the recording than he did in reality. He was speaking as though things were generally getting better as though he was glad to be here. But when I think back to last night in the Bunker, he wasn’t really like that. Not in his body language anyway. His usual confident bravado was replaced by an inwardly turned shell, his shoulders hunched, expressions lacking, eyes dull. He was drinking a lot. And in a way, I don’t blame him. I know it’s no way to deal with grief or problems, but I can see why he did it. He’s fast asleep now, but it’s not a restful one, I can tell. He’s asleep because he passed out, not because he chose to be. But that’s why I’m scared for tomorrow. I can see it going one of two ways. Either he wakes up, acts like we’re safe and finds more to drink or he wakes up feeling like absolute crap and is a shell of who he normally is and does absolutely nothing. And with either one of those options, we go nowhere. But the thing is, we have to. We have to go somewhere. I’m going to have to do some serious talking him out of this. I really need him to see the hope in finding his family. If he doesn’t have that, I don’t know what else he’ll want to fight for. Selfishly I’m grateful I don’t have a family other than Roman. It’s not that I don’t care about them or him, I do. But my distance allows me to be more realistic about the situation, they could still be alive but honestly...honestly the chances are low. I can’t deny that. If I think logically about how many people are missing, the chances of them not being part of that are incredibly low. Regardless though, we have to keep moving.
I mean, Jim is nice enough, don’t get me wrong. We could probably ride out the next few months here no bother. Providing nothing out there finds us. But if we’re here, we’re doing nothing. We’d just be cattle waiting to be slaughtered. We’d be sitting here, complaining about how terrible things are, about how scary everything is, how fucked up it is, but doing nothing about it. I can’t be that person right now. I can’t sit by and let this happen to me and do nothing. When I think about myself at the end of the world, which let’s face it, this may as well be it, I don’t want to be the one cowering in the corner. As much as that’s what my whole body is telling me to do, I cannot be that person. I have spent far too much of my life letting things just be. Letting idiots bully me as a child, letting managers think they have complete control over my life, letting people push me around, being scared and worried about every little thing that might go wrong. I cannot at the end of all this, at the end of whatever anyone considers normal, continue being that person. I have to do something. I have to find out more or well, let’s face it, die trying.
Tomorrow I’m going to ask Jim about that broadcast he’s been listening to and find out what else he knows about all this.
Ryan: It pains me, survivors, to not know the location of Roman’s family. I know I’ve only had the privilege of meeting Claire, but I feel as though through listening to all of their accounts that we’ve come to know the brothers quite well and seeing them, especially Roman, suffer so much. It’s becoming hard.
We’ll continue with the brothers' experiences in Bunker A:7.
[SFX: Tape recorder]
Elliot: Uhm, quite a bit. It’s all digital so it stores quite a lot. Originally Roman got it to help him remember the camping trip so he could mentally revisit it I suppose. But now, well now it sort of helps us cope with what’s happening and know that we’re leaving a record behind should anything happen to us.
Jim: That’s a mighty interestin’ way to go about things y’know? I mean, it sounds to me like you’re almost expectin’ to die.
Elliot: [nervous laughter] No, not, not quite. But I, I suppose I see what you mean. It’s a coping mechanism more than anything Jim. So, these recordings, they always start at the same time?
Jim: Yup! Just like I said, around eight in the evening there’ll be some static coming through and then shortly after, Ryan does his usual introductions then shares some of his thoughts on things. Sometimes it’s something people in A:12 have told him. Other times it’s just a message of hope. Depends really.
Jim: Say what boy?
Elliot: What does it depend on?
Jim: Oh I don’t know. Whatever he’s got going on I suppose. Seems like there’s a whole bunch of people in A:12 and they’ve got a bit of a ‘community dynamic’ to work out, should we say!
Elliot: Ah, yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if separating the supplies has been a problem to be fair.
Jim: Yup, that was the case here too. ‘Least from what I saw of things. ‘Course now, I couldn’t eat all this stuff in a lifetime, even if I wanted to.
Elliot: It must be lonely here…[silence] Sorry, you probably didn’t want to hear that.
Jim: [slightly solemn] Nah, it’s alright son. You’re right. It gets mighty lonely in little old A:7. But I got my broadcasts and my whiskey and, well I might just start keepin’ a journal like you boy.
Elliot: Oh [nervous laughter] Thanks. I think? So, you don’t think it’s stupid?
Jim: [incredulous] What? Oh hell no, I think that’s a damned fine thing you’ve got going there. Hell some of the people here before wrote letters to their loved ones and things like that...It was a kinda, grieving exercise. If you know what I mean?
Elliot: Really? What happened to them?
Jim: [laughs] They were all kept in a box in one of the empty rooms. Everyone made a sort of remembrance shrine there. Somewhere people go and think about...well yeah, you catch my drift.
Elliot: And are they still there?
Jim: Meant to be kept there till this was all over. The idea being that once we could head back outside we’d find our loved ones and give ‘em the letters.
Elliot: Man, that’s heartbreaking. I-I’m sorry Jim.
Jim: Don’t worry yourself son, didn’t go writing one myself.
Elliot: I’d like to-
[SFX: Radio static, start of broadcast]
Jim: [interrupting] Oh hey now, here we go!
Elliot: [excited] Is this it?
Ryan (past): Good evening Survivors, my name is Professor Ryan. I’m currently held up in Bunker A:12 after following emergency procedures to take shelter in the government bunkers. This broadcast is to anyone and everyone out there. If you’re listening to this, I hope you’re safe, wherever you are. As we’ve discussed before, the horrors of the outside world are complex and almost impossible to define at the moment. However, it is my belief that we can triumph over this darkness and find ourselves in the light of the sun once more. And for those of you who are still wandering the seemingly empty streets of England or wherever you may be. Please, find shelter. Wherever you can. There is still plenty of space in A:12.
[SFX: Morse code intro etc]
Elliot: Jim, how far away is A:12?
Jim: Ssh, ssh.
Ryan (past): [forlorn] It’s with great sadness today, that I must inform you of the passing of one of our engineers. Her name was Matilda Scott and she was a much loved and valued member of our community, of A:12. I must warn you, those who are listening that the events I am about to describe may be upsetting.
Matilda was one of the designated engineers of Bunker A:12, tasked with repairing the both internal and external fittings where possible. She was part of a highly skilled team that worked tirelessly to keep us safe. However, she wasn’t just a civil servant doing her job, she was a much loved friend of many here.
The awful incident took place whilst on external routine maintenance of the solar panels. It seems as though whatever affliction has struck the land, the panels seem to be suffering more than was to be expected. When they returned back without her, we knew the worst had happened. I shall read to you now, the report her team leader wrote following the events…
[SFX: Slowly fade out]
Jim: Oh hell I’m sorry Elliot. But I can’t listen to this.
Elliot: Oh...that’s alright. Might I ask why?
Jim: [sighs] Look, I...I’m a Bunker engineer. I was assigned to, god damn it, I was assigned to A:12. That’s where I’m supposed to be right now. Helping out. That’s why I listen to Ryan’s broadcasts so much. I didn’t say anythin’ before because I didn’t want you thinking I’d abandoned my duties or somethin’. Jesus…[remembering Matilda]
Elliot: Jim, you said it yourself, you were on leave. That’s not your fault. Anyone could’ve been away and no-one could’ve predicted this.
Jim: [solemn] I knew her. [a pause] Matilda Scott, I knew her. And a damn fine woman she was as well. I mean sure, there were engineers more skilled than her, quicker too perhaps, but there’s no chance in hell you’d find a kinder, more considerate one among us! She...god damn it Elliot, she was an absolute saint! [pause] I thought…I tried not to let it get to me when he first said it. But...It’s too much. It’s just too damn much isn’t it? What is going on out there Elliot?
Elliot: That’s what I aim to find out.
Jim: You, you do?
Elliot: Yeah...I’ve...I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m going to A:12. And I’m going to find out what I can on the way.
Jim: You? But what about your brother?
Elliot: Well, I’m gonna try and do my best to convince him.
Jim: Good luck with that boy…
Elliot: You should come too.
Elliot: I mean, I know it’s messed up out there Jim but, well what else is there?
Jim: Listen...I...I don’t think I could go back to A:12. Not after knowing that Matilda’s gone.
Elliot: But Jim, you could be with your old team!
Jim: [angry/upset all of sudden] And how in the hell am I gonna look them in the eye knowing that if I’d have been there that Matilda might still be with us? Huh? [breathing heavy]
Elliot: But...I...I’m sorry Jim. I just thought.
Jim: [dismissive] Yeah, well you thought wrong.
[SFX: Footsteps marching away, door slam]
Elliot: Jim I’m…[whisper to self] I’m sorry.
Ryan: I had no idea that Jim was designated to Bunker A:12. I mean, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard the engineers here speak of missing a team member or anything to that effect, but I suppose there would be little reason for me to know something like that.
I do remember Matilda though...Jim’s right. She was nothing but a delight to be around and is still sorely missed by the people of A:12. It has been a few months since that happened and so I’m curious to know what happened to Elliot’s plan to head here. We could soon be reaching the point where Claire comes into possession of their recordings.
It seems as though we’ll have to save such things for another time. As always the power is limited and there are other matters that require my attention.
Until next time survivors, don’t wander in the dark.