The Speckled Hide – Episode 2 – Community of Evil


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Below we present the complete text of ‘Community of Evil’, episode 2 of The Speckled Hide.

Gaslamp Mystery - GM003 - The Speckled Hide

Gaslamp Mystery – GM003 – The Speckled Hide

SCENE 5: INT. — MISS STONER’S ROOM — LATER (DR ROYLOTT, HELEN, MARTHA, YOUNG HOLMES)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. NARRATOR: Concerned for the safety of a young runaway (Miss Helen Stoner), Holmes and Martha have accompanied her to her ancestral estate where they have been met and conducted to her bedroom by her guardian; the sinister Dr Roylott…
  3. SOUND: [17] DOOR CREAKS OPEN — LET IT FINISH.
  4. DR ROYLOTT: Here you are, Miss Stoner. You should be very comfortable. I have received word that we should expect a storm this evening so I have arranged for extra candles by all the beds. There is a lock on the inside of the door so you shall have nothing to fear.
  5. HELEN: (SCREAMS) Aaaah!
  6. MARTHA: Miss Stoner. What’s the matter?
  7. HELEN: Through the window. There was a face. A hideous face!
  8. DR ROYLOTT: (ANNOYED) There is no need for alarm! It would merely be one of the apes satisfying its curiosity. You will have scared it as much as you yourself were startled, Miss Stoner. The windows are adequately barred so, I repeat, there is no cause for alarm.
  9. HELEN: Ugh. It was horrible. Why did you insist on bringing me to this horrible house, Dr Roylott?
  10. DR ROYLOTT: (ANGRY) For thirteen years I have been the trustee of your financial affairs, Miss Stoner. I have seen to your general care and schooling and have sought to keep you — and your sister, God rest her soul — in a manner fitting to young women of breeding. Is it so wrong of me that, at a time when this duty is finally to come to an end, I should seek to become acquainted with those on whom I have spent my care and concern? As it is I shall leave you to settle in. Dinner is at seven.
  11. SOUND: [18] STEPS TO THE DOOR. DOOR OPENS THEN CLOSES — LET IT FINISH.
  12. MARTHA: Well, thank goodness ’e’s gone. ’e’s positively the most discomforting individual I’ve ever met.
  13. YOUNG HOLMES: He does have an unnerving manner, doesn’t he? (BEAT) Well, let’s give our attention to the room. What do you see, Miss Hudson?
  14. MARTHA: Oh no! Must you do this every time?
  15. YOUNG HOLMES: (SURPRISED AND SLIGHTLY INJURED) What do you mean?
  16. MARTHA: You have an incredible brain, Mr ’olmes. But sometimes I could just swat you on the nose.
  17. HELEN: Miss Hudson!
  18. MARTHA: I’m as ’appy to watch you show off as the next girl, assumin’ the next girl thinks the sight of a man showin’ off his brains in public is particularly amusin’, but I don’t appreciate bein’ quizzed in front of an audience. It ’as, after all, been some time since I was sittin’ in a schoolroom an’ I don’t appreciate bein’ made to feel like an ignorant child.
  19. YOUNG HOLMES: I see. Shall I just get on with being brilliant then?
  20. MARTHA: (AMUSED) I should think so, yes!
  21. YOUNG HOLMES: A quick survey then. The large four poster bed is bolted down and placed against the inside wall of the room. An unusual positioning for a fixture made permanent by large iron bolts. There is a bell pull beside the bed…
  22. SOUND: [19] SOUND OF PULLY GOING DOWN AND UP — LET IT FINISH.
  23. YOUNG HOLMES: …that is not connected to any bell. Above the bed is a large circular vent leading out into the hallway. The windows are barred and the door can be bolted from the inside. (TO HELEN) From these elements I am convinced that your sister was indeed murdered and that I understand the villain’s method.
  24. HELEN: You do? But how?
  25. YOUNG HOLMES: No, not yet. We shall test my hypothesis first. If you would be so good as to follow these instructions when you retire this evening… Do not go to sleep in the bed. Instead, come and sit upon this chair by the window and wait. At the first sign of anything untoward in the room, call immediately for help and throw the bolt open. Martha and I have been given rooms on either side of yours and we shall be by your side in but a moment.
  26. HELEN: But?…
  27. YOUNG HOLMES: No, I shan’t be saying more. It would be best to act as though you are blithely unconcerned about what the evening may bring.
  28. MARTHA: Are you sure ’e’ll strike tonight?
  29. YOUNG HOLMES: Oh, absolutely. Dr Roylott’s pride has been wounded and he wants nothing more than to humiliate me and demonstrate that he can outwit me in shortest order. His impulsiveness and pride guarantee that he will make the attempt this evening.
  30. MARTHA: If’n you say so, Mr ’olmes.
  31. YOUNG HOLMES: I do.
  32. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 6: INT. — THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE MISS STONER’S ROOM — AFTER DINNER (MARTHA, YOUNG HOLMES, HELEN)

  1. SOUND: [7] (WALLA) OCCASIONAL CRASH OF THUNDER. SOUND OF RAIN ON ROOF AND WINDOWS — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. MARTHA: That’s quite the storm.
  3. YOUNG HOLMES: Yes, it is. You’ll need those candles I should think.
  4. HELEN: Well, I guess it’s time to retire. I’m beginning to feel frightfully sleepy.
  5. YOUNG HOLMES: Before you go, Miss Stoner, and you, Miss Hudson, take one of these.
  6. MARTHA: What are they?
  7. YOUNG HOLMES: Mild stimulants. They should counter the soporific that was administered with dinner.
  8. MARTHA: The what? Roylott drugged us?
  9. YOUNG HOLMES: He attempted to drug us, yes. Fortunately we were too smart for him.
  10. MARTHA: You’ve got that smug look again, Mr ’olmes.
  11. HELEN: I don’t understand… what’s going on?
  12. MARTHA: It’s alright, Miss Stoner, don’t panic.
  13. HELEN: Don’t panic? You just told me I’ve been drugged.
  14. YOUNG HOLMES: That’s right. Dr Roylott intends to strike tonight so he attempted to drug us. The antidote I just gave you has effectively countered that strategy, however, so you need have no further worries on that score.
  15. MARTHA: And just ’ow dangerous do you expect things to get this evenin’, Mr ’olmes?
  16. YOUNG HOLMES: I expect the attempt Dr Roylott is going to make on our lives — and I believe he will try to kill all of us once he realizes none of us are asleep — would be highly effective if it was wholly unexpected. As it is, I have my cane and we shall do just fine.
  17. HELEN: Your cane, Mr Holmes. Do you expect to beat off the attack with nothing more than a cane?
  18. MARTHA: Mr ’olmes’ cane ’as a sword in it. And in the ’ands of Mr ’olmes is quite the effective weapon. That said, I can’t ’elp feeling you’re keeping a little bit too much to yerself.
  19. YOUNG HOLMES: As I indicated earlier, I did not wish to reveal too much before my hypothesis was fully tested.
  20. MARTHA: And you enjoy the look of surprise on everyone’s faces when yer brilliance is revealed an’ all. (BEAT) Well, I don’ think Miss Stoner should be left on ’er own so I’ll sit with ’er while we wait fer the attack.
    (TO HOLMES) Don’ you dare be late.
  21. YOUNG HOLMES: I’ll be right next door.
  22. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 7: INT. — MISS STONER’S ROOM — MIDNIGHT (HELEN, MARTHA, YOUNG HOLMES, SNAKE, ELDER HOLMES)

  1. SOUND: [7] (WALLA) OCCASIONAL CRASH OF THUNDER. SOUND OF RAIN ON ROOF AND WINDOWS — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. HELEN: (SCREAMS) Aaaah!
  3. SOUND: [20] DOOR CRASHES OPEN AND HOLMES BURSTS IN — LET IT FINISH.
  4. YOUNG HOLMES: I’m here! Where is it?
  5. MARTHA: Slithering down the bell pull. Draw your sword, man!
  6. SOUND: [21] SWORD BEING UNSHEATHED — LET IT FINISH.
  7. HELEN: Oh kill it! Kill it!
  8. SNAKE: HISSSSSSS!
  9. YOUNG HOLMES: It’s huge. Nearly ten feet long and as thick as a man’s arm. Did it come in through the vent?
  10. SNAKE: HISSS!
  11. MARTHA: ’course it did. Now drive it off.
  12. YOUNG HOLMES: Of course. (GRUNTS AND GRUNTS AGAIN)
  13. SNAKE: HISS OF PAIN
  14. YOUNG HOLMES: Well, I struck it and it’s retreating.
  15. MARTHA: There. It’s gone back through the vent.
  16. YOUNG HOLMES: Are you ladies alright?
  17. MARTHA: ’course. Where’d you wound it?
  18. YOUNG HOLMES: In the neck. I’d better get after it.
  19. SOUND: [22] DOOR OPENS AND FEET RUN OUT — LET IT FINISH.
  20. DR ROYLOTT: (SHOCKED) What have you done, man? You’ve killed my maid! Stabbed her in the neck!
  21. YOUNG HOLMES: Don’t be a fool, Roylott. This isn’t what it appears to be.
  22. DR ROYLOTT: You have been caught standing over the body with a bloodied sword. It’s the police for you. Don’t even think of trying to escape.
  23. MARTHA: What on earth? Miss Stoner, look away!
  24. YOUNG HOLMES: Hmm! Nicely played, Roylott. Are all your servants shape-shifters? It looks like you’ve a veritable colony here.
  25. DR ROYLOTT: Oh, so you have figured it out. Well, no matter. Your meddling is now over. (BEAT) Attack!
  26. SOUND: [23] ANIMAL SNARLS, BARKS, AND GROWLS — ESTABLISH AND FADE UNDER AND OUT.
  27. ELDER HOLMES: And so, before our very eyes, the members of Roylott’s domestic staff shifted form and came bounding towards us in the guise of a variety of primates and other wild animals. My last memory, before the darkness closed in, was of Martha and Miss Stoner fleeing back through the house as an inhumanly powerful fist crashed into the side of my skull, bringing an end to all conscious thought.
  28. MUSIC: [4] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 8: INT. — THE BASEMENT — AN UNKNOWN TIME LATER (ELDER HOLMES, DR ROYLOTT, YOUNG HOLMES, MARTHA, LAYLA, HELEN)

  1. ELDER HOLMES: [CUE] It obviously didn’t take the shape-shifters very long to chase the two women down. When I awoke they were chained beside me to the wall of a dank basement somewhere beneath the estate. Down here the sound of the storm raging outside was dimmed but its effects were still obvious.
  2. SOUND: [8] (WALLA) DRIPS AND SPLASHES AS WATER FINDS ITS WAY INTO THE ECHOING CAVERN — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  3. DR ROYLOTT: Ah, Mr Holmes, I see you are awake. I don’t believe you’ve met Miss Stoner senior yet, have you? Layla, this is Mr Sherlock Holmes.
  4. YOUNG HOLMES: Miss Stoner senior? You mean you are the sister of Miss Helen Stoner? (BEAT) How could you let your sister mourn for you this past year?
  5. LAYLA: You would be surprised what inducements power can bring. Had you not interfered, the bite from poor Lydia would have transformed Helen as well and we would be together once more.
  6. YOUNG HOLMES: One big happy family under the pack leadership of Dr Roylott I presume?
  7. DR ROYLOTT: Yes, but you’ve put paid to our original plans. We have set ourselves upon another, greater prize.
  8. YOUNG HOLMES: Oh yes?
  9. DR ROYLOTT: Yes! You see, we, or should I say I, inherit the balance of the estate on Helen’s death whether we fake that death or… arrange something more convincing. But our little community cannot be allowed to grow too large. We need to remain hidden from the humans if we are to survive in numbers for any significant period of time. Helen was a useful recruit because of the inheritance, but her corpse can achieve just as much. You on the other hand… well someone of your intellect and understanding would be a noble prize indeed.
  10. YOUNG HOLMES: You’re not serious?
  11. DR ROYLOTT: I am very serious indeed. And becoming one of us has its compensations. Barring accident or injury our lifespans are virtually limitless. We move amongst the human population largely unnoticed, and aside from the occasional blind rage brought on by the full moon, we thrive in relative obscurity.
  12. YOUNG HOLMES: Now that is something that interests me. How is it you manage to change at times when the moon is not full? And by what method do you keep command of yourselves when the change overtakes you?
  13. DR ROYLOTT: That, Mr Holmes, is the result of a discovery of my own… and one I am disinclined to share until you have joined our ranks.
  14. YOUNG HOLMES: And, pray tell, what price would I pay for this great benefit?
  15. DR ROYLOTT: Little enough. Loyalty, and a willingness to put your prodigious talents to work for the benefit of the community.
  16. LAYLA: There are other compensations also, Mr Holmes. (BEAT) Do I not seem fair to your eyes. I will never grow any older than you see me now… or at least my aging will be so slow as to seem like none at all.
  17. DR ROYLOTT: There are worse ways to spend eternity than in the company of beautiful women, are there not? And if you insist, you can keep one of your companions. The rules regarding our numbers can be bent a little for a mating. What say you?
  18. MARTHA: You must be totally insane if’n you think anyone would want to spend eternity with that one.
  19. DR ROYLOTT: Ah, Miss Hudson. How nice of you to join us. I suspect Helen will wake up shortly as well. But as for who you spend eternity with, I think you protest a little too much. We have animal instincts, my dear, and can tell which way the pheromones are blowing.
  20. MARTHA: Ooh, I’ll bet you think you’re hysterically funny, don’t you?
  21. YOUNG HOLMES: Besides, I took the liberty of checking on your finances, Dr Roylott. You have heavily mortgaged this property. Even with the money brought in by the Stoner inheritance, you will barely break even on your debts and you will certainly have nothing more to live on.
  22. LAYLA: Is this true?
  23. DR ROYLOTT: It is of no consequence, Layla, my dear. I have lived for a very long time indeed. Too long to care about such petty matters.
  24. YOUNG HOLMES: I’m sure you have. But I am also aware of the towering pride that drives you. When you do fall it will be protesting that you still have numerous tricks up your sleeve even as your world comes crashing in. All the while you will be trying to convince your followers that nothing but good times lie ahead.
  25. LAYLA: You never told us that things were so dire!
  26. DR ROYLOTT: They are not. And, Mr Holmes, if you keep this up I will be forced to rescind my offer.
  27. YOUNG HOLMES: Firstly you need not extend your offer further. I will not be taking you up on it. And you would do well to find a new way to reassure the elder Miss Stoner regarding the future. The doubt that now rises in her eyes is quite plain from my vantage point. I’d venture to say that the end is very near indeed and you cannot escape it, inheritance or no.
  28. DR ROYLOTT: Then you leave me no choice. You and your companions are all going to die. But at least you will provide the community with something valuable in death.
  29. MARTHA: Oh, and what would that be?
  30. DR ROYLOTT: Sustenance, my dear Miss Hudson. We are going to eat you. (BEAT) Layla, let us retire and call in the cook. (TO HOLMES) She’s a dab hand with the cleaver, is our cook, Mr Holmes. It’s a pity you won’t have much of a chance to get to know her before… well, before you get on intimate terms with her cleaver.
    (OMINOUS LAUGHTER) Bwahahahaha!
  31. MUSIC: [4] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

ACT 3

SCENE 9: INT. — THE BASEMENT — SHORTLY AFTER DR ROYLOTT’S DEPARTURE (MARTHA, HELEN, YOUNG HOLMES, COOK)

  1. MARTHA: [CUE] Helen, wake up! Helen!
  2. HELEN: Hmmm. Ugh. Where are we?
  3. YOUNG HOLMES: We’re in Dr Roylott’s basement, I think. Underground at any rate.
  4. SOUND: [24] CHAINS BEING TUGGED — LET IT FINISH.
  5. HELEN: Ow. Are these… chains?
  6. YOUNG HOLMES: Yes. We’ve all been chained up. Fortunately for us they aren’t normal chains.
  7. HELEN: What do you mean?
  8. MARTHA: There are sigils carved into the chains. Dr Roylott thinks of ’imself as something of a magician.
  9. HELEN: I don’t understand any of this. How does that help us?
  10. YOUNG HOLMES: Dr Roylott locked the chains with magic. If he had done so with a simple lock and key we would be undone. But, as it turns out, your nanny left you the key to our predicament.
  11. MARTHA: Don’t tease ’er. Things are desperate enough.
  12. YOUNG HOLMES: My apologies, Miss Stoner. Perhaps a demonstration would be best. Can you reach the pendant around your neck — the one your nanny gave you?
  13. HELEN: Er. I believe so.
  14. YOUNG HOLMES: Grip it hard and imagine the chains to have fallen away.
  15. HELEN: Er… are you sure?
  16. MARTHA: Don’t worry, Miss Stoner, you’ll be fine.
  17. SOUND: [25] CHAINS FALLING TO THE FLOOR — LET IT FINISH.
  18. HELEN: It worked. How did you?
  19. YOUNG HOLMES: You will remember that we mentioned your pendant held some powerful magicks on our journey here.
  20. HELEN: Yes, but I thought you were joking!
  21. YOUNG HOLMES: Miss Stoner, I never joke!
  22. MARTHA: Ahem.
  23. YOUNG HOLMES: Well, almost never at any rate. Now if you wouldn’t mind. Please release Miss Hudson and myself.
  24. HELEN: Yes. Yes, of course.
  25. SOUND: [25] CHAINS CLANK TO THE FLOOR (X2) — LET IT FINISH.
  26. HELEN: There.
  27. YOUNG HOLMES: Thank you, Miss Stoner. I think we should now get out of here before the cook arrives and proceeds to hack us to pieces. Do either of you see my sword cane?
  28. MARTHA: It’s ’ere on the table.
  29. COOK: Too late, Mr ’olmes. They say it’s bad form to play with yer food, but in your case I’m ’appy to make an exception.
  30. SOUND: [26] BABOON GRUNTS AND CRYS — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  31. HELEN: She’s turned into a baboon.
  32. YOUNG HOLMES: Stay clear of that cleaver.
  33. SOUND: [21] SWORD CANE BEING DRAWN. LET IT FINISH.
  34. SOUND: [27] GRUNTS. SWISHES. CLANGS OF SWORD ON CLEAVER — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  35. YOUNG HOLMES: (AFTER A FEW MOMENTS OF FIGHTING) (GRUNT)
  36. COOK: (BABOON-LIKE CRY OF PAIN) Aaargh!
  37. YOUNG HOLMES: (ANOTHER GRUNT)
  38. COOK: (A FINAL BABOON-LIKE CRY OF PAIN BEFORE DYING) Aaaargh!
  39. SOUND: [28] BODY FALLS TO GROUND — LET IT FINISH.
  40. HELEN: Is it dead, Mr Holmes?
  41. MARTHA: I think so. It’s turning back into a human.
  42. YOUNG HOLMES: (PANTING SLIGHTLY AND A LITTLE ANGRY) We need to get out of here. Now.
  43. MARTHA: (SHARPLY CONCERNED) Are you alright, Mr ’olmes?
  44. YOUNG HOLMES: This is the second member of the fairer sex I have been forced to kill since entering this house. I would like to avoid being required to engage in any more killings if possible.
  45. HELEN: Of course.
  46. MARTHA: Wait just a moment, Miss Stoner.
  47. YOUNG HOLMES: What now?
  48. MARTHA: She doesn’t know about ’er sister. We can’t go on without tellin’ ’er.
  49. HELEN: My sister? What about Layla?
  50. YOUNG HOLMES: Oh very well. Miss Stoner, your sister whom you believed dead, still exists.
  51. HELEN: (Happy) She’s alive?
  52. YOUNG HOLMES: Not strictly speaking, no. She has joined the shape-shifters… become one of them.
  53. HELEN: She’s become a monster?
  54. MARTHA: She was willin’ to let Roylott kill you.
  55. HELEN: I don’t believe you! He must have some power over her.
  56. YOUNG HOLMES: She’s no longer entirely human, I’m afraid. I’m sorry, Miss Stoner, it’s the truth.
  57. HELEN: (WITH A CATCH IN HER THROAT) No… no, it can’t be.
  58. MARTHA: (GENTLY) Come on, Miss Stoner. We must escape this ’orrible place.
  59. HELEN: Yes. We must get out. Before anything more hideous is revealed.
  60. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.
  61. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME – LET IT FINISH.

The Speckled Hide

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