• Christmas Special: Chimes at Midnight

    Credits and Transcript

  • Christmas Special "Chimes At Midnight" - Credits


    Written and Directed by Gabriel Urbina.

    Script Editing by David K. Barnes.
    Performance by Mary Kate Wiles as Katherine Cavalier.
    Original Music by Alan Rodi.

    Featuring the Carols of the Bells, composed by Mykola Leontovych,

    arranged and performed by Alan Rodi.

    Sound Design by Zach Valenti.

    Produced by Sarah Shachat, Zach Valenti, and Gabriel Urbina,

    along with Angel Acevedo, Jenn Schneider, and Amy Tanguay.

    Christmas Special - "Chimes at Midnight" - Transcript



    Announcer: The following episode contains discussions and depictions of gaslighting, as well as tense, menacing situations and fantasy violence. Listener discretion is advised.




    [Gradually, the sounds of a winter snow fade in. Snow. Wind. Cold.]


    [The sound of a crackling fireplace.]


    [There's a burst of static as an old television turns on. Interference crackles irregularly throughout the following:]


    Voice: [through television] Hello? Can you hear me? Am I getting through? We don't have a lot of time here, so you need to listen to me. You need to remember.




    Voice: There aren't many people left who celebrate Christmas the way we used to. With ghost stories. Amongst the modern peoples of the world, only the fae still honor this tradition. Every December Twenty-Fourth, they gather around the fire and trade stories. Stories of what moves in the dark, forgotten corners of the world.


    [Music begins to fade in.]


    Voice: There's one story they tell more than any other. There's lots of different ways to tell it, but it always goes something like this.


    [The distant toll of a bell in a clock tower.]


    Voice: On a cold winter's night, it will find you. The Mask Maker. It will not look like a monster. It will have a face you know. A face you love. But beneath the surface? It's a monster. If you run, it will catch you. If you fight, you will lose. One way or another, the Mask Maker will take you back to its lair. And once it's there? It's going steal you. All of you. It'll take your shadow. It'll take your face and your eyes, and your skin. It will take your thoughts. Your joy. Your spark. Who you are, who you were, and who you will be. And while it's taking you... it's going to take... its time.


    [A pause.]


    Voice: And when it's done, a thing is going to walk out of that dark place. That looks like you. And sounds like you. And lives like you. Until it needs a new mask. And you stay behind. In the dark. A thing of mist and shadow. Forever.


    [A pause.]


    Voice: There isn't much time, but it isn't too late. You have to remember. You have to. While you still can.


    [The music ends.]


    [The wind blows.]


    [There's a thrum and the television switches off.]




    [The Unseen opening credits music begins to fade in.]

    Announcer: Long Story Short Productions presents... Unseen.


    [Unseen Theme continues playing.]


    Announcer: Christmas Special. Chimes at Midnight, by Gabriel Urbina.


    [Music fades out.]


    [The sound of an alarm clock ticking, then ringing.]


    [A woman groans, annoyed.]


    Kate: Okay, okay, you win. I'm awake... I'm awake!


    [She shuts the ringing clock off. Sits up in bed.]


    Kate: [yawning] I'm awake and... and...


    [She grabs a calendar, flips through its pages.]


    Kate: It's Christmas. I'm awake and it's Christmas.


    [She throws the calendar aside, stretches, and rises out of bed.]


    Kate: Okay. Let's do this.


    [Footsteps as she walks across the room, followed by a massive wooden door opening.]


    Kate: Hmm... where are we going to start today?


    [A piano version of Leontovych's The Carol of the Bells starts playing. It will continue until further notice.]


    Kate: Dear Chris. It's me, Kate. Merry Christmas.


    [Outside, the wind blows.]


    Kate: I'm sorry that your wayward girlfriend is, once again, absent for the holidays. But... well. Duty calls.


    [Footsteps through a castle hallway.]


    Kate: It's hard to believe I've been here for almost two years already. I mean... okay, it's not as hard to believe as the fact that there's been a magical castle sitting on top of the North Pole for hundreds of years but... still.


    [The sound of machinery and clockwork mechanisms fades in.]


    Kate: I get the business out of the way first thing in the morning. After all, it's why I'm here. Gotta keep the clock tower going. Gotta make sure it all keeps on ticking.


    [A rattling sound, followed by a thunk and a mechanism engaging.]


    [A kitchen timer fades in.]


    Kate: After that... well, I can do whatever I want with the rest of my day. I know what I'm supposed to do. Keep up with my studies. Organize the archives. Work on my magic. But... not today.


    [The timer ding. An oven door is opened, and a tray slides out of it.]


    Kate: Today's Christmas, so... screw it. I'm taking the day off to do all the stupid, cheesy Christmas-y things I want to. Ergo, I spend the morning baking gingerbread cookies.


    [She takes a deep inhale.]


    [A cardboard box clatters, and decorations are taken out of it.]


    Kate: In the afternoon, I catch up on my decorations. I don't know how I got so behind on them this year - I haven't even gotten the tinsel up on my tree yet.


    [Branches and ornaments rustle.]


    Kate: I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go with a star or with a snowflake on top of the tree. Decided I'd flip for it.


    [A coin is flipped.]


    Kate: Hmm... star it is.


    [Footsteps through a hallway.]


    Kate: I really could've used you being here.


    [She stops. A wreathe rustles as she hangs it.]


    Kate: It takes me all afternoon to get the rest of the decorations up.


    [The footsteps resume, then stops. She hangs another wreathe.]


    Kate: The castle is very big, and it has a lot of rooms. One of these days, I'm going to figure out what they all do.


    [Outside, the wind blows.]


    Kate: I think the hardest part of it is... well, just how lonely it gets. Living up here, all by myself, in the North Pole. It'd be nice to at least be able to go outside and make some snowmen. I'd do it if... well, if I didn't have to keep the castle safe.


    [A pause.]


    Kate: Also, it's forty below out there. Right. Mmm.


    [A pause. The wind continues blowing.]


    Kate: Hmm... There's this moment. In the library. Like... I think I hear this sound, and see something out of the corner of my eye. Like... Anyway. I'm imagining things.


    [A pause.]


    Kate: I spend the rest of the afternoon playing Christmas carols.


    [A pause. The music continues.]


    Kate: The evening's cozy. It's cold, even inside the Castle. So I put on my wooliest, itchiest sweater, make myself dinner and a big cup of hot cocoa, and just... plop myself down in front of the television.


    [A couch groans as a body sinks into it.]


    Kate: You'd be proud of me. I tuned in to the Old Time Black and White Movie Channel.


    [A television is turned on.]


    Kate: Remember how skeptical I was that first Christmas we spent together?


    [A movie begins playing in the background, indistinct.]


    Kate: I hated the idea of spending Christmas watching old movies. Well... I'm a believer now. You did it, Chris. It just doesn't feel like Christmas if I don't watch whatever's playing on the Old Time Black and White Movie Channel. They were playing a weird one, though. I caught it late, so I didn't see what it was called. But it was all about this girl called Katherine Cavalier, and how she wanted to be a scientist. She had all these problems in school and went on all kinds of adventures to prove.... I don't know. How smart she was. Or something, I don't know. It wasn't bad, I just... didn't really see what it had to do with Christmas. Mmm.


    [The music ends.]


    [The wind blows. A pencil writes on paper. It continues under the following:]


    Kate: And just like that... the day was over. Hmm. I like to stay up late on Christmas. Late enough that I get to hear...


    [A massive bell rings, giving off the first of twelve chimes for midnight.]


    Kate: Yeah. There we go. I miss you lots. I wish I could have spent this Christmas Day with you. I can't wait for all the Christmases that we'll get to spend together soon. Soon. Very soon, I promise. I love you. To the ends of the earth. Signed... Kate.


    [The clocktower strikes the twelfth bell. There's a wooshing sound, and all sound cuts off.]




    [Gradually, the sound of a ticking clock fades in.]


    [A woosh takes us back into the first room we were in. The alarm clock starts to go off.]


    [Kate, asleep, groans in protest.]


    Kate: All right, all right, I surrender. Mercy, please, would you just... ?


    [She shuts the alarm clock off with a click.]


    Kate: [yawning] I'm awake, I'm awake and it's... it's Christmas. [laughs a little] It's Christmas Day. Let's do this.


    [She gets out of bed. Footsteps as she crosses the room, followed by a massive door being thrown open.]


    Kate: Where should we get started today?


    [The same piano version of The Carol of the Bells begins to play again, and continues under the following:]


    Kate: Dear Chris. Season's greetings from your super long distance girlfriend. Can you believe it's already Christmas again? It feels like it was only yesterday when I wrote my last letter.


    [The sound of the clockwork room fade in.]


    Kate: It's been quiet here. Well, I mean, it's the North Pole, so how else is it going to be? I'm still keeping the clocks going.


    [The same rattling noise, followed by the mechanism engaging.]


    [The kitchen timer fades in.]


    Kate: And I'm still letting myself take the rest of today off to just... lay about and be Christmas-y.


    [The timer dings. The oven door is opened and a cooking tray is slid out of it.]


    Kate: Spent the morning making some profiteroles.


    [A Christmas tree rattles as it is decorated.]


    Kate: Left the tree all the way to the last minute this year. Again. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go with a star or with a snowflake on top of the tree. Decided I'd flip for it.


    [A coin is flipped.]


    Kate: Hmm... Snowflake this year.


    [Footsteps as Kate walks through the castle.]


    Kate: I'm really behind on the decorations, too.


    [A wreathe rustles as she hangs it.]


    Kate: I don't know what I was doing all December. It took me three hours just to get all the wreaths up around the castle.


    [A pause.]


    Kate: At least I'm doing better at the piano. I think. It's nice to be able to play a bit of carols, even if there's -


    [In the distance, there is a big, booming, knocking sound. The piano music cuts off abruptly.]


    Kate: Is that the front door... ?


    [There's a WHIP, and we transition into a different space. The wind and the snow can be heard much louder here. Wherever we are, it is closer to the outside world.]


    [Footsteps as Kate approaches. She stops.]


    [There's another loud, heavy impact. A wooden surface rattles.]


    Kate: Knock all you want. Knock yourself out. I'm not coming out, and you're not coming in.


    [Another heavy, knocking sound. Louder. The door rattles more.]


    Kate: Not gonna work. There's twelve locks on that door, not to mention a great big oak bar standing in your way. The physics aren't on your side.


    [Another knock.]


    Kate: You're not getting in. I have to do this. I have to keep the clock running.


    [A long pause. The wind blows.]


    Kate: Well... all right then. Merry Christmas to you too.


    [Footsteps as Kate walks away. The piano music gradually fades back in.]


    Kate: Had a brief... interruption this afternoon. Nothing the defenses couldn't handle. Still, I was glad to get to curl up, have some dinner, and watch the Old Black and White Movie Channel.


    [The television turns on with a click from the remote. We hear another movie, indistinct, in the background.]


    Kate: And you know? It's funny. Remember that weird movie they were playing last year? They had another one on with the same character this year. Katherine Cavalier. I guess it must be a sequel, though, because she was Doctor Katherine Cavalier now. She was a little older. She wasn't in college anymore, but she was working as a physicist. And she was... about to make some big discovery? Or something. It was interesting. Though I still have no idea what it had to do with Christmas.


    [The music ends. We hear the wind blow.]


    [The clocktower begins hitting the twelve chimes for midnight.]


    [A pencil scratches on paper.]


    Kate: It was a good day. Christmas is always a good day. I just... wish I didn't have to spend it alone. I wish I could spend Christmas with you. And we will. Soon. As soon as we can. I love you. To the ends of the earth. Signed, Kate.


    [As the last bell chimes, there's a wooshing sound, and all sound cuts off.]




    [Then, the sound of an alarm clock ticking starts to fade in. As it starts to go off, there's another wooshing sound, and we are back in the first room.]


    [Kate groans at the alarm clock, annoyed.]


    Kate: God, I hate you...


    [She switches the alarm clock off. Once again, the same piano version of The Carol of the Bells starts to play.]


    Kate: Hey Chris. Merry Christmas. It's... still me. Your favorite long-absent girlfriend. At least I hope I'm still your favorite.


    [The clockwork sounds of the clock room fade in.]


    Kate: The North Pole continues to be... well, the North Pole. I'm still here. Still making the clocks run on time.


    [The same rattling sound, followed by the mechanism engaging.]


    [A kitchen timer fades in.]


    Kate: Still giving myself the rest of Christmas off.


    [The timer goes off. An oven door opens and a tray slides out of it.]


    Kate: Still doing some Christmas baking - cheesecake this year, by the way.


    [A Christmas tree rustles as it is decorated.]


    Kate: Still leaving the tree until the last minute.


    [A coin is flipped.]


    Kate: Ah. Star this year.


    [Footsteps as she walks through the castle. A wreathe rustles.]


    Kate: Still running around decorating every room in the castle. Still -


    [A distant boom. The piano music abruptly cuts off.]


    [Kate groans, annoyed.]


    [There's a whipping sound, and we are in a different place. We hear snow and wind much louder and clearer.]


    [Footsteps as Kate approaches.]


    Kate: Didn't we do this last year?


    [Another booming, knocking sound. Wood groans.]


    Kate: Oh, yeah, that's right. We did, and it went about as well as it's going this year. Give it a rest.


    [Another booming knock.]


    Kate: Look, I admire the tenacity, but at this point you're just being stubborn. I'm here. I take care of the castle. I keep the clocks running. I don't care who you are, you're not getting through that -


    [A powerful blow hits the door, breaking it apart. Wood shatters and splinters. Kate gasps.]


    [The sounds of wind and snow become much louder and more pronounced.]


    Kate: Oh God. Oh my God.


    [Footsteps as a figure enters from outside.]


    Kate: Wh-who are you? What do you want here?


    [The footsteps draw closer. We start to hear the inhales and exhales of someone breathing through a mask.]


    Kate: No, no, no, no - stop. Stop! Don't come a single step closer. If you do I'm - I'm - I - I - I am going to -


    [The footsteps draw even closer.]


    Kate: Stay - stay back! Stay away! You're not supposed to be here! No one is supposed to be here!


    [The footsteps stop.]


    Kate: Go. Please. Just go. Leave and -


    Figure: [Muffled, Unintelligible.]


    [Music begins to fade in.]


    Kate: What? What was - what did you say?


    Figure: [Muffled, Unintelligible.]


    [A clasp is unfastened and a hiss of air is let out as the Figure takes off her mask. She gasps for air.]


    Figure: I said... I'm here to talk to you. And to make you realize why you shouldn't be here.


    [Note: the voice of the Figure is very similar to Kate. The two roles are noticeably played by the same performer.]


    Kate: What? What do you mean?


    Figure: Do you know who I am?


    Kate: What? No, of course not! You're just some... crazy woman in a snowsuit and a mask!


    Figure: Try again. A little harder.


    [The Figure grabs Kate.]


    Figure: Are you watching closely?


    Kate: I don't understand. What are - ? Wait a minute... Doctor Cavalier? Doctor Katherine Cavalier?


    Figure: Some recognition. Good.


    Kate: From the movies?


    Figure: Okay. Less good. I can see this may be a bit of a... process.


    [Her next word brims with magical power:]


    Figure: REFRICARO.


    [There's a thrum of magical energy and a groan of wood as the door reconstructs itself. The sound of wind and snow from the exterior become muffled again.]


    Figure: There. That's better.


    [Footsteps as the Figure walks past Kate.]


    Kate: H-how... how did you do that?


    Figure: I can do that and much, much more. But... for now... the only thing I'm going to do is get warm. Sitting room. Ten minutes. Bring a pot of tea.


    [Her footsteps fade away, and the music ends.]


    [The sound of the sitting room fades in. A fire burns in the fireplace.]


    [A clatter as a tray with a tea pot and some cups is placed on a table.]


    Kate: What are you doing here? What do you want?


    Dr. Cavalier: That's not the right question, Kate.


    Kate: How do you know my name?


    Dr. Cavalier: That's a much better question.


    [Dr. Cavalier walks over, and makes herself a cup of tea under the following:]


    Dr. Cavalier: Here's another one. What do you know about the Mask Maker?


    Kate: The what?


    Dr. Cavalier: Mask Maker. Ring any bells?


    Kate: [slow, halting] Umm... It's a... fairy tale, isn't it? Monster. Kidnaps people. Steals their life so it can impersonate them. Yeah?


    Dr. Cavalier: An admirably succinct summary of a remarkably thorny issue. Next question: why are you here? Why are you in this place?


    Kate: I take care of the castle.


    Dr. Cavalier: You're the caretaker? You make sure everything's in its place?


    Kate: Yes.


    Dr. Cavalier: Why? Why do you do this, Kate?


    Kate: S-someone has to. Someone has to keep the clock running. Someone has to protect it against intruders.


    Dr. Cavalier: Why?


    Kate: Be... because...


    Dr. Cavalier: You don't know, do you? And you don't know how it's possible that you don't know. After all... you've been here for a very long time.


    Kate: Yeah...


    Dr. Cavalier: Years and years. Or... at least it seems like years, doesn't it? From your perspective?


    [A pause.]


    Dr. Cavalier: How did you get here, Kate? How did you end up living, on your own, in a magic castle at the top of the North Pole?


    [Outside, the wind blows.]


    Kate: I... I was selected. I -


    Dr. Cavalier: Why you? Are you an especially powerful magician?


    Kate: No, I -


    [Music begins to fade in.]


    Dr. Cavalier: An expert? In enchanted machinery?


    Kate: No.


    Dr. Cavalier: Then why you?


    Kate: I don't know!


    Dr. Cavalier: Good. That's the first step.


    [Dr. Cavalier grabs her tea cup, and walks across the room.]


    Kate: The first step towards... what exactly?


    Dr. Cavalier: Towards understanding that... your life doesn't make any sense.


    [The Christmas Tree rustles as Dr. Cavalier fidgets with an ornament.]


    Dr. Cavalier: Where do they come from, Kate? The trees? You can't go outside, not even for a second. It's too dangerous. So how do you get your Christmas tree every year?


    Kate: I... I...


    Dr. Cavalier: Every year you write a letter. Where does it go, Kate? How does the letter get delivered?


    Kate: How do you know about that? How do you know about all of this?


    Dr. Cavalier: I know everything about you, Kate.


    [Footsteps as Dr. Cavalier walks back towards Kate.]


    Dr. Cavalier: I know you were born on the twelfth of May, nineteen-eighty-eight, in Summit, New Jersey. From an early age, it was clear that you had both a fascination with and a facility for numbers. Your parents did everything they could to encourage your talents, as well as the Catholic faith you inherited from your mother, but they needn't have worried. Possibly the only thing that fascinated you more than math were questions of faith. You graduated from high school in two- thousand and six, attended Brown University, where you were a double major in quantum physics and comparative theology. Doctoral work at Cambridge University. Your thesis on the theological implications of the multiple worlds hypothesis raised a few eyebrows, but eventually they gave you the degree. You were all set to start at a teaching position at Swarthmore when... well, something remarkable happened. You discovered that magic is real. You finally saw the world as it is. As it's always been. And the part of you that has longed to understand the marvels of the Universe just... grew three times in size. You became... a magical anthropologist, of sorts. And soon you were traveling the world, searching for strange stories and forgotten myths. Anything that might help you find the answers you've been looking for all your life. Anything to help you understand how God and magic and physics all fit together.


    [The music ends.]


    Kate: I... I don't remember any of that.


    Dr. Cavalier: No, of course you don't.


    Kate: But... no, wait, wait. How do I know you aren't lying to me?


    Dr. Cavalier: An excellent question. Let me counter with one of my own: can you tell me what your last name is?


    Kate: Huh? Of course I can. It's -




    Dr. Cavalier: Exactly. Now, all of this brings us to the key question: why can't you remember any of your life?


    [A spoon tinks as Dr. Cavalier stirs her tea.]


    Dr. Cavalier: Because your memories have been taken from you, Kate. You did find something. Something very old. You sought it out. You followed the myths all the way back to their source, thinking you might find some... remnant.


    [Music begins to fade in.]


    Dr. Cavalier: A ruin, or a fossil for a museum. Something you could take back to a lab to study. But... no. The thing you found in its lair was alive. And real. And very, very dangerous.


    Kate: I'm - I'm sorry, I don't understand. What was? What are you saying is happening to me?


    Dr. Cavalier: You've been captured, Kate. By a monster. A thing out of the fairy tales... which it seems have a much greater basis in reality when they come from fae sources. Something to make a note of in the future. Hmm. The Mask Maker is hollowing you out, Kate. It's stealing every bit of you that makes you... you. Your memories. Your appearance. Your personality. Your power. Very soon, it's going to have all of you.


    Kate: Okay, that's enough. This is absolutely absurd!


    Dr. Cavalier: Kate, you have to -


    Kate: No! I'm done listening to this... this... this nonsense! I don't know who you really are, but I've had enough of this. You are going to leave, quietly, and I am going to go back, finish up my Christmas, and finish writing my letter to -


    Dr. Cavalier: You and Christopher haven't been together for about five years now.


    [A long pause.]


    Kate: ... excuse me?


    Dr. Cavalier: You met in school, and you fell in love. You had many great years together. And then... little cracks started to form. Little disagreements. You tried to just... keep going. After all, you loved each other. Wasn't that enough? But... eventually it just became clear. You wanted your lives to go in different directions. And neither one of you was willing to change course. Neither of you really wanted to put in the time to try. Until one day... you couldn't see a way out.


    Kate: No, Chris and I - we're together. And when I'm done, when I can get back, I thought that we might -


    Dr. Cavalier: However that sentence ends, it's not going to happen, Kate. The Mask Maker has just... let you hold onto that feeling. To keep a version of that relationship. Without the pain. And the complications. As anesthetic. It's the same reason why it's made you think you're in a castle. See, it doesn't want to tear you away from yourself. It wants you to just let go. To not fight back. So it's trapped you in this... phantasm. This glamour for your mind. In a world where every day is a day you'll just... let be. Even the parts that don't make sense. Because it's warm. And pleasant. And everything outside is so, so cold. So you'll... let go. Even as your life is literally flashing before your eyes.


    Kate: [realizing] Oh, God. Oh my God. Those movies. The ones about your life... there're not movies, are they?


    Dr. Cavalier: No.


    Kate: They're.... what are they? Memories?


    Dr. Cavalier: Your memories, Kate. You're catching glimpses of them as they're extracted from your mind. And all of this? The castle, the letters, the Christmas? It's laughing gas. So you don't feel the drill.


    Kate: But then... who are you?


    Dr. Cavalier: [laughs a little] What, haven't you realized? I'm you, Kate. I'm the part of you that's you, that nothing can take away from you. I'm always going to be here for you.


    [Kate laughs, overwhelmed.]


    Kate: This... this is completely mental.


    Dr. Cavalier: Now you're catching on.


    [The music ends. A soft woosh goes through the room.]


    Dr. Cavalier: We don't have much time. You need to listen to me.


    Kate: What? Why?


    Dr. Cavalier: Because you weren't wearing that reindeer sweater a second ago.


    Kate: Huh?


    [Fabric rustles as Kate tugs on the sweater she's suddenly wearing.]


    Kate: Oh, what the - ? Where did that come from?! How did I get it on?


    Dr. Cavalier: The phantasm is realizing that something has gone wrong.


    [A dark drone starts to play under the characters' words.]


    Dr. Cavalier: That some part of you that remembers who you really are has penetrated the defenses. So listen: none of this is real. You aren't really here. It's trying to get you back into the routine. Don't let it!


    Kate: Right, right, right...


    [Ice forms around them, crackling.]


    Dr. Cavalier: Fight the phantasm. Break the patterns. Push the glamour far enough, and sooner or later it's going to snap.


    Kate: I - I - I don't know -


    [Outside, the wind is getting stronger.]


    Dr. Cavalier: You're Katherine Marie Cavalier. Remember that. And Katie? Remember this, too: if some monster wants to steal my life out from under us, it's going to have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.


    Kate: Right. I'm Katherine Cavalier... Katherine Cavalier...


    Dr. Cavalier: Good.


    [Another woosh goes through the room.]


    Kate: So what now? What do we do? Dr. Cavalier?


    [A pause. Dr. Cavalier isn't there anymore.]


    Kate: What? No! Hello? Are you there? Where did she go? Where did she -


    [There's a woosh, and suddenly Kate is in a different space. There's a chord of piano music.]


    Kate: The... piano? How did I get here? What did... ? Oh. I see. Is this how you think it's going to work? You think I'll just... what? Go along with it? Play some Christmas music? No. No more carols. Let me out.


    [A pause. The wind and the droning are both still blaring around her.]


    Kate: I said... Let me out!


    [A pause.]


    Kate: Fine. Be like that. You can play your own damn piano.


    [A piano bench is pushed back and footsteps sound as Kate gets up and walks away.]


    [Suddenly, the piano starts to play itself. A darker, creepier rendition of The Carol of the Bells.]


    Kate: God, why do I even open my mouth...


    [The music continues through the following:]


    [A door opens as Kate steps back into the living room.]


    Kate: Right. Focus on what's real. No Christmas. Well... No Christmas tree, then.


    [Footsteps as she walks over to the Christmas tree and pushes it down. Ornaments break as it hits the ground.]


    KATE: There. Tree down. That's better.


    [A woosh goes through the air, and the tree is magically standing again.]


    Kate: What - ? Oh, are you kidding me!? Stay down!


    [She pushes it down again. With another woosh, it is magically up again.]


    Kate: No! There's a lot of things I can't do, but if there is something I can do it is -


    [She punctuates each word by breaking an ornament.]


    Kate: - take - some - goddamn - decorations down!


    [She knocks the tree down again. Ornaments shatter as it hits the ground.]


    Kate: And have them stay down! All right, that's better. I guess next I'm going to -


    [The kitchen timer fades in. As it dings, there's a woosh, and Kate is suddenly in the kitchen.]


    Kate: What the? What am I doing in - ? Aaahhh!


    [She drops a cooking tray, which clatters as it hits the floor.]


    Kate: Okay... kitchen. No! I am not making gingerbread cookies. I'm not making salt caramel pie, or eggnog mouse, or... or chocolate-chip goddamn bundt cake! Why can I not remember who I am but apparently still know every single Christmas dessert recipe?!


    [A pause. The music continues.]


    Kate: You can't make me. You can't make me frosty and cheery and Christmas- y, so you might as well give up! Because there's no way that I -


    [The television turns on. Suddenly Kate is in a different room, sitting in front of the television.]


    Kate: What? URRRGGHH! Goddammit, stop doing that!


    [With a groan, she throws something at the television. The screen shatters.]


    Kate: No TV. No Old Time Movie Channel. I don't care if I can't remember them... they're my memories. And you can't have them. It's my life! You can't have it!


    [A woosh, and the television repairs itself.]


    [Kate throws something else at it, breaking the screen again.]


    [The television remakes itself again, and Kate breaks it again. Twice.]


    [The music slows down, and stops.]


    Kate: My name is Katherine Cavalier. I am Doctor Katherine Marie Cavalier! And I don't care how much of me, you've stolen. I don't care how much you've taken away. There's more of me where I came from.


    [The sound of the room fades down.]


    [The sound of a different room fades up. Outside, we can hear the wind blows.]


    [A pencil scratches on paper.]


    Kate: Hey again Chris. Sorry for the interruption there. So. I figured it out. Or I reminded myself of what was really happening. And now... I'm getting out of here. I got it all. In the end. If I just... break things enough times, they stay down. I more or less destroyed everything that was even somewhat festive in the castle. But... I'm still here.


    [A pause.]


    Kate: And then I realized I was forgetting something. You know what that is?


    [The clock tower starts tolling for midnight. Almost at the same time, Kate tears the letter up and throws the paper bits away.]


    Kate: Screw this and screw this stupid letter. I'm done dreaming. I'm going to wake up now. I'm going to be back. And it's... it's going to be a new day. A different day. No more Christmas. And that's okay. That's okay.


    [The clocktower strikes the twelfth bell. With a wooshing sound, all sound cuts off.]


    [Then, with a strange, distorted drone, the sound of a new space fades in. It's strange and uncomfortable, full of odd droning and creeping noises.]


    [Katherine, the real version of Kate, wakes up with a start, gasping for breath.]


    Katherine: Okay, okay, okay, you're out. You're out. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe...


    [She takes a few deep breaths.]


    Katherine: I'm out of the castle. I'm back in the real world. Which means... this must be the Mask Maker's workshop. Okay. Get moving. Get somewhere safe. Get away from -


    [The sound of an elastic groaning as she tries to move.]


    Katherine: Ah. Right. I'm strapped to this table, aren't I? That's... less than ideal. Okay. Think. Think. Strapped to a

    table. What's around you? What can you use to get free? Hmm... Lots of shelves, filled with memory vials. Who knows how many of those are my memories... Can I still do magic?


    [A long pause as she thinks.]


    Katherine: Unclear. Is there anything I can use to free myself? Is there... ?


    [A moment of silence.]


    Katherine: Oh. You're here... aren't you?




    Katherine: Yeah... of course you are. I suppose you keep a close eye on all your... projects.


    [Some movement around her.]


    Katherine: Well? Show yourself.


    [A few shuffling steps as the Mask Maker approaches her.]


    Katherine: There you are. You look like me.


    The Mask Maker: Yes.


    [Note: The Mask Maker is also noticeably played by the same performer that plays Kate/Katherine, but her voice as been digitally altered.]


    Katherine: You sound like me.


    The Mask Maker: Yes.


    Katherine: But... not exactly like me. Not yet.


    The Mask Maker: All things. In time.


    Katherine: Why? Why me?


    The Mask Maker: Because. This is what I do. Because you found me. You were smart. And cunning. And powerful. And now... all of that will be mine.


    Katherine: Yeah? That's pretty big talk for someone whose phantasm just got shattered. What happens now?


    The Mask Maker: Now you go back to sleep.


    Katherine: Like hell I do.


    The Mask Maker: You do.


    Katherine: And why is that?


    The Mask Maker: Because. Because it is better. Because you will be happier. No more uncertainty. No more doubt. No more cold days filled with questions that you will never be able to answer. You will be better her. You will have warmth. And the comfort of fog and shadow. Until you are nothing.


    Kate: No. I reject that. I am not nothing. I will never be noting. Some part of me knew that. Some part of me will always know that.


    The Mask Maker: No, you little fool. You're already no one. I took the things that make you who you are. I tore them out of you.


    Katherine: No.


    The Mask Maker: I took them! They are mine! And soon you will be nothing.


    Katherine: No. No. I don't care if it would be simpler. I don't care if it'd be easier. I'm not nothing. I will never be nothing. I'm a maker, and a thinker, I dream, and wonder, and get bored easily, and you can ever have the whole of me. I contain multitudes, and you can't have any. Now, give me back my memories and get out of my face.


    The Mask Maker: No! I took you. Your life is mine.


    [Katherine takes a deep breath.]


    Katherine: Well... in that case... I'm going to have to take it back.


    The Mask Maker: And how are you going to do that?


    [Katherine takes a deep breath, and the following word brims with power:]


    Katherine: TENNUMFERRO.


    [There's a burst of magical energy, followed by an explosion of thunder. A body falls to the ground.]


    Katherine: Same way I've done everything I've ever done. I'm going to keep at it for long enough. Until I can figure out how to do the impossible.


    [She takes a deep breath.]


    Katherine: You're all right. It's okay. It's going to be okay. Now... let's figure out how to wriggle out of these restraints.


    [Slowly, the sound of this dark place fades away.]


    [The sound of a coffee shop fades in. Katherine takes a deep breath.]


    Katherine: Ohh... why did I think this was a good idea? Because, my dear Katherine, even though you got your memories back, you still never learn. And you love a grand gesture. But here in real life, things don't work out like in those old black and white movies.


    [The door into the coffee shop opens and closes. Footsteps approach.]


    Katherine: Sometimes you just sit at the coffee shop... by yourself... like a dope... and you never hear from...


    [The footsteps stop.]


    Katherine: Oh my God. Hi. You... you're here. You're actually here. I, uh... I was little worried you weren't gonna come, honestly. No, no, no, Chris, wait, hang on. Umm. Can I... just talk? Before you yell at me about not... you know, contacting you out of the blue after years? Because I'm just going to... say things, okay? And afterwards, if you feel like it, you can... turn around, and walk right out that door, and never see me again, okay?


    [Slowly, the sound of the coffee shop fade away, as a piece of emotional music begins to fade in.]


    Katherine: Okay. Well... here goes. I know it's hard. This... this thing we do. And it's messy, and complicated, and... God, sometimes it feels like it shouldn't be? You know? Like, it shouldn't be this hard. That if you love someone, if you really love someone, then everything else should work out, right? That's all it should take. Because, I mean... the rest of life is so hard. It's so big, and complicated, and it takes so much time. And it's so... easy to get lost in all of that.


    [A pause. The music has completely overtaken the sounds of the coffee shop by now.]


    Katherine: I know I did that a lot. I'd get lost. Lost in a project, or a job, or a mystery or... whatever. And I'd only pay you any attention when I'd come up for air. When I could spare a moment. Because... hey, it's fine. He loves me. I love him. It's fine. And... well, when you think like that... sometimes you don't try. Not as hard as you should. So I wanted to say that I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't try.


    [She laughs a little, nervous.]


    Katherine: And... I know it's not as easy as picking up and restarting. Because... well, see everything I said about difficult and messy and complicated. I don't even know if we're the same people we once were. I don't know, maybe you're married, and have like... an alarming number of kids now. And if you are, if you do... that's great. But... it's Christmas. And if you're about to be alone on Christmas... don't. Just don't. Okay? I know it was tough before. But... if you'd be willing to make some room in your life for me to try and... be better, then I promise. I promise I'll give it my all. To the ends of the Earth. I think I'm ready for that now.


    [A pause.]


    Katherine: So? What do you say? Can I buy you a coffee?


    [The music crescendoes, and finally ends.]


    [All sound fades out, leaving us in silence.]


    [Slowly, the Unseen Credits music starts to fade in.]


    Announcer: This has been UNSEEN, by Long Story Short Productions, based on an original idea by Gabriel Urbina, with additional conceptual design work by Sarah Shachat. Today’s episode was written and directed by Gabriel Urbina, with script editing by David K. Barnes. It starred Mary Kate Wiles in the role of Katherine Cavalier. Original Music by Alan Rodi, with sound design by Zach Valenti. UNSEEN is produced by Sarah Shachat, Zach Valenti, and Gabriel Urbina, along with Angel Acevedo, Jenn Schneider, and Amy Tanguay. For more information on the Unseen World, please visit Unseen.Show. Thank you for listening.


    [Music fades out.]


    End of Episode