1.6 Knock

written by Eli Barraza
directed & produced by Mischa Stanton

[[SFX: Peri shifts on her bed.]]

PERI: Today was nice, Guillermo. I looked outside the window and saw snow. It fell lazily past as my breath fogged up the glass. I stayed inside today. I made soup on the camp stove. Bundled up under blankets. I thought about going outside but I couldn’t find my winter coat and my mom’s old one is a large. I didn’t even want to touch Ace’s. I found a hot cocoa packet. I think next time I get groceries I’m going to get more. And maybe there’ll be a place with jackets and boots so I can go outside next time there’s snow.

[[SFX: Peri sits up.]]

PERI: Mo, why did he say that? Why did he say that she was looking for me?

[[SFX: Quiet.]]

PERI: You’ve been quiet lately. Well, I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve been using words to try and figure this all out but… why did he say that? I-I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want this I don’t want this I don’t. Want. This. I don’t want to go outside anymore. I don’t want to look for Ace. And I don’t want... If she is looking… why does it feel like everyone in the whole world is lost and looking and and only if everyone just stayed in one place we could find each other.

[[SFX: Peri rests her chin on her knees a moment.]]

PERI: I can’t see anything Mo. I’m usually asleep right now. It’s weird when light and not sound is your alarm clock. Maybe that’s how it should be. But if that’s the case, I should be asleep right now. I should see the darkness of my eyelids, not in my room. I should close my eyes and open them to someplace new. Today I saw a flat expanse of ice. Today was cold Mo but when the fog rolls in, the temperature changes to something my body no longer notices. How long will this go on? If I refuse to step outside my door again, will my windows just look out onto a different place every day? If I die from starvation, will the lighthouse keep moving? A shifting tomb for my body until everything in here turns to dust? I’ve felt alone, Mo. But I didn’t used to feel lonely.

[[SFX: Peri gets up, clicks on a camp light]]

PERI: Happy I found the light in the junk closet. It had all sorts of stuff. Camp stove, light. The propane smelled bad and I’m happy I found some at the store I managed to get to after talking to that girl at the bus stop.

[[SFX: Peri picks up the lantern and heads downstairs.]]

ACE: This old lighthouse belonged to the Miller family decades ago. They didn’t build the place but everyone in town agrees they gave the place life, the beating heart and blood which fueled the beacon, warning incoming sailors of the dangers below. What they neglected was the dangers within as the heart of one of the children grew darker with the coming winter. It was cold. The food was scarce and the child knew that less mouths to feed meant a greater chance for survival.

[[SFX: Peri pulls open the cupboard and grabs a box of crackers. She munches on the crackers.]]

ACE: One by one, the child tapped their sibling’s shoulders, waking them to lure to the cliff with the promise of secrets and candy. One by one, the children plunged into the dangers below. The child lied to the Miller parents beset with grief and greedily ate the portions meant for others. Then, on the darkest night of winter, their voices floated up to the child’s ears. Come outside, they beckoned. We miss you. Come to play and share in the secrets of the after world.

[[SFX: There is a light tapping at the door. Peri pauses her chewing. Silence. She resumes eating. There’s a louder knock at the door and she chokes. She swallows, slowly stands and approaches the front door. A loud knock and she checks all of the locks. The knocking stops. Peri slowly inhales and exhales. Tap tapping at the window above the sink. She runs over and wrenches the curtains shut.]]

PERI: Ohnononononono. There’s no kids, no kids.

[[SFX: There’s quiet.]]

PERI: There’s nothing outside but fog. There’s nothing outside but fog. Fog fog fog.

[[SFX: The door shakes as some tries the doorknob.]]

PERI: Not real not real not real. I don’t want you to be real.

[[SFX: She gets up and makes a run for the stairs, Her feet pound on the steps, she runs to her bed and leaps in.]]

PERI: Shit shit the camp light is downstairs.

[[SFX: Peri huddles under the covers.]]

ACE: The child’s curiosity got the better and the siblings rejoiced upon their arrival in the cold. They tapped and tapped upon the windows, calling out to their parents to join them. Their father awoke to the sounds, rejoicing at their return and headed towards the front door. His footsteps roused their mother who chased after him but her attempts to pull him back were defeated by the hallucinogenic hope of grief. He stepped out into the night, his foot falling upon candy wrappers saved from summer. The Miller mother did not follow but once a year, she heard tip tapping upon her window...

[[SFX: Tapping.]]

ACE: ...her children calling out to her, littering the ground with afterworld sweets.

PERI: Guillermo.

[[SFX: She grabs Mo. A knock this time by her window. She leaps out of bed and runs back down to the restroom. She closes the door behind her and rummages for matches. She lights one then uses it to light Mo.]]

PERI: I’ll try to make you last Mo. We’ll be like the Miller mother, we can last the night.

[[SFX: Peri clambers into the tub and sits, clutching Mo. Tap. Tap. Tap at the bathroom window. Peri whimpers]]

PERI: There is nothing out there. There is nothing out there. All I’ve seen is fog. How can anything be out there?

[[SFX: Tap. Tap. Tap at the window. Peri blows out Mo.]]

PERI: It, they, whatever’s out there might be able to see you, Mo.

[[SFX: Another knock from the floor below.]]

PERI: It’s moving. I don’t think it knows where I am.

[[SFX: Peri slowly gets up in the tub, rakes the shower curtain back and steps out..]]

PERI: I will not be scared in my own home, goddamnit.

[[SFX: She picks up a plunger, opens the door and heads down the stairs. She slips and falls.]]

PERI: Mother--

[[SFX: She stands, limping down the stairs. She walks around the kitchen area. Waiting.]]

PERI: Make yourself known, goddamnit.

ACE: Families moved in and out after she died. Kids from town would throw rocks on the solstice, tap at the windows and litter their candy saved from Halloween.

[[SFX: Peri’s shaky breathing the only sound. A knock from Ace’s room at the top.]]

PERI: Horace’s room. Shoot, I hope the window’s locked.

[[SFX: She clambers up the stairs, quietly, pausing to listen whenever the knocking stops.

ACE: But it wasn’t the longest night the story spoke of, it was the darkest night, a night without stars when the children would appear, their father standing silently awaiting his wife. And on those nights, well. From time to time, a child of the town would join their ranks from the dangers below.

[[SFX: She nears the final landing. A knock.]]

PERI: Alright, it’s fine. You’re fine. This is your home turf. Screw whatever this is. You got this. You’re armed with a plunger but you got this.

[[SFX: A rhythmic knock from above. Peri stops.]]

PERI: It’s not the children. It’s…

[[SFX: The same rhythmic knocking]]

PERI: Ruth. No, it’s not her, it can’t be her. She’s not looking for you, Peri, she’s now, she’s not, she’s gone, she’s moved on, that can’t be--

[[SFX: Rhythmic knocking from below.]]

PERI: How’d she get down there so fast. Ruth?

[[SFX: Peri spins round and pounds down the stairs. She runs to the door. The rhythmic knocking grows in urgency.]]

PERI: Ruth, Ruth.

[[SFX: The pattern is gone, replaced by urgent knocking.]]

VOICE IN THE FOG: PERI.

[[SFX: She stops again. That voice does not belong to Ruth.]]

PERI: No. Nononono.

VOICE IN THE FOG: PERI LET ME IN.

PERI (whispering): I don’t know you. You’re not… I don’t know who you are, how do you know my name. How…

[[SFX: Peri backs away from the door, knocking over a chair.]]

VOICE IN THE FOG: GODDAMNIT PERI.

[[SFX: One last bang against the door and then silence. Peri chokes back sobs.]]

PERI: I almost… but I didn’t. How did they know… how did they know my name

-THE END-       

The Far Meridian.

Created and written by Eli Barraza, directed and produced by Mischa Stanton.

Performed by Eli Barraza as Peri, Noah Gildermaster as Ace, and Jose Donado as the Voice in the Fog. Music by The Album Leaf.

For more information and links to support the show, go to TheFarMeridian.com, or find us on social media @TheFarMeridian.

We’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, may you always find your way.