Episode 1: Roof Over My Head
Darkened Hallways is a product of Hear Me Out Productions. Find our other shows at hearmeoutproductions.com or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow us on social media @HearMeOutProd.
This show is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Thank you for visiting us at Sycamore Crossing. Come home soon – we’ll be waiting…
[SFX: CAR NOISES, TURN SIGNAL, BIRDS]
Mia: [sighs, this car ride is long and boring]
[SFX: A CAR DRIVES INTO A PARKING LOT, THEN COMES TO A HALT.]
Taxi Driver: Well, here we are. Sycamore Crossing.
[SFX: COINS are transferred from Mia’s hands to the taxi driver’s.]
Mia: Keep the change.
[SFX: Mia OPENS THE CAR DOOR. She STEPS OUT, PULLING A SUITCASE WITH HER.]
Mia: Thanks for the ride!
[SFX: The taxi DRIVES OFF.]
[SFX: Mia TAKES A FEW STEPS, CARRYING HER STUFF.]
Mia: Sycamore Crossing. Strange name for an apartment complex. Okay. Just enter the building, Mia. You’ve done scarier things than that.
[SFX: Mia OPENS A DOOR. She ENTERS, PULLING A SUITCASE WITH HER.]
Mia: Stairs… and an elevator. But what if the elevator gets stuck and I can’t get out? Better take the stairs. I can leave my luggage here for now.
[SFX: She HURRIES UP A SET OF STAIRS.]
Mia: It’s dark in here.
[SFX: Mia moves further up the stairs. Then she OPENS ANOTHER DOOR. She arrives in a hallway. ]
Mia: This hallway is dark too. Y- At least I can see the door numbers.
[SFX: We hear Mia's FOOTSTEPS as she walks down the hallway.]
Mia: Number 38, number 38... Ah, here it is.
[SFX: Her FOOTSTEPS STOP as she arrives at apartment 38.]
Mia: [sighs] You can do this, Mia. It's just a conversation. You'll just have to talk to them. Okay. Here goes nothing.
[SFX: She KNOCKS ON THE DOOR. We hear SOFT FOOTSTEPS on the other side of the door. The DOOR OPENS.]
Grey: Oh hey! Are you the infamous Mia? ...I'm sorry, I don't know why I said that. I'd literally never heard of you before you contacted me.
Mia: Uh, yeah, that's me. Am I on time?
Grey: No idea. Anyway, hi, I'm Grey. Come in.
[SFX: Mia WALKS INTO THE ROOM. Grey FOLLOWS.]
Grey: Just to let you know, I use they/them pronouns.
Mia: Cool. I use she/her.
[SFX: They STOP WALKING.]
Grey: Sorry for the clutter. I'm not exactly a tidy person. Just another part of my eccentric personality, if you know what I mean. Einstein had bedhead too, right? Anyway, do you mind the mess?
Mia: Uh… No, that’s fine. I can’t exactly tell you how to live your life.
Grey: Probably not. Many have tried. Uh, anyways, I emailed you about the price, right?
Mia: Yes! I actually emailed you back. I can pay the rent, don't worry.
Grey: Oh, I must have forgotten to check my email. Uh, can you cook?
Grey: Can you teach me to cook?
Mia: Uh, I-I guess so?
Grey: Great. I'm terrible in the kitchen and Sarah tried to get me to cook dinner but-
Mia: Wait, who's Sarah?
Grey: Oh. She was my previous roommate. She moved out really suddenly last week. She even left some of her stuff behind. Something must have come up.
Mia: She didn't even give you a heads-up?
Grey: Yeah. Anyways, I needed a new roommate fast, because I cannot pay for this place on my own, so I'm glad you responded. Sooooo do you like the place?
Mia: Well, the living room looks good. But, uh, I haven't seen any other rooms yet.
Grey: Right, I'm such a klutz. Come, I'll be your guide on this epic adventure through my apartment, perhaps soon to be our apartment. Follow your leader!
[SFX: Chill, ambling "house tour" music begins. Footsteps as they walk around the house. Door opens.]
Grey: This is the bathroom.
Mia: Oh. It’s actually pretty clean.
Grey: What did you think, that it’d be a swamp?
Mia: No! I just...thought it might be more like the living room.
Grey: I thought you said you didn’t mind the mess!
[SFX: Door opens.]
Grey: The kitchen. I have leftover pizza in the fridge, if you’re hungry.
[SFX: Door opens.]
Grey: The dining room.
[SFX: Door opens.]
Grey: My bedroom. Yes, I know it’s a mess.
[SFX: Door opens. Music becomes relaxed and comforting. We hear an AIR CONDITIONER.]
Grey: And this is your bedroom.
Mia: It's... perfect.
Grey: Cozy, right? I always like small bedrooms. I know the room only has a bed, a wardrobe, and a desk, but you can decorate it. Make it into your own evil lair or whatever.
[SFX: Music stops.]
Mia: What's with that window?
Mia: Uh, the small window, above the bed.
Grey: It looks out on the corridor. You can close the curtains at night, if you want.
Mia: I'll definitely be doing that.
Grey: There are no creeps out there, I promise. Well... apart from those jerks at number 42.
Grey: The door across from ours, number 42? The devils themselves live behind it.
Mia: There's more than one devil?
Grey: Oh, yes, and their names are Lauren and Oscar.
Mia: I thought the devil's name was Lucifer.
Grey: He has nothing on them.
Mia: What did they do?
Grey: What didn't they do? Just last night, they smeared fricking dog poo on my front door.
Mia: ...The same front door that I knocked on?
Grey: The very one. Of course, I responded by throwing several water balloons through their open window. (laughing) I could hear them squeal. Sarah would have been so proud of me.
Mia: Can't you guys just... like, get along?
Grey: You don't make a deal with the devil, Mia.
Mia: But... why? Why are you guys doing these pranks?
Grey: Why did Harry Potter fight Voldemort? And they're not pranks, Mia, they're attacks. Attacks on our dignity. Sooo do you want to live here?
Mia: Yes, I'd love to live here. If you'll have me. I’m not taking part in this neighborly rivalry, though, if that’s okay. I just want to live a quiet life.
Grey: Fine, fine. You can move in whenever. I assume you have to go get your stuff...
Mia: Yeah, I left it downstairs. Wasn’t sure if the elevator was trustworthy.
Grey: Seriously, you already took all of your stuff with you? You really were in a hurry, huh?
Mia: Oh, you know. Just trying to be efficient.
Grey: I admire that. I have never been efficient in my life. It's a lifestyle.
Mia: Is it?
[SFX: Scene transition music.]
[SFX: Mia WALKS DOWN THE LAST FEW STEPS. Mia TAKES HER SUITCASE AND PULLS IT OVER TO THE ELEVATOR. Mia PUSHES THE ELEVATOR BUTTON.]
Mia: Do I have everything? Bedding, books, clothes… Yes, that’s it.
[SFX: The ELEVATOR DINGS ONCE and the ELEVATOR DOORS OPEN, then CLOSE. The elevator DINGS FOUR TIMES. The doors OPEN. We hear Mia’S FOOTSTEPS as she leaves the elevator and walks down the hallway. She’s carrying her stuff.]
Mia: (heaving) This is heavier than I thought. Wait, is that door open?
[SFX: Mia continues walking until she’s closer.]
Mia: Oh, hi! Are you Lauren? Grey mentioned you, but-
[SFX: Lauren SLAMS HER DOOR.]
Mia: And she’s gone. God, I am so awkward.
[SFX: She KNOCKS ON THE DOOR to apartment 38.]
Grey: (from inside the apartment, shouting) You can just come in, the door’s open!
[SFX: She OPENS THE DOOR. She ENTERS the apartment. She DROPS HER STUFF (bag, bedding) on the floor.]
Mia: Oh my God.
Grey: (from the living room, with a raised voice) What is it?
Mia: There’s - there’s graffiti on the wall! Here, near the door to my bedroom.
Grey: Seriously? What does it say?
Mia: “Good luck explaining this to the landlord”.
Grey: (whistles at the sight of the graffiti) Oh, frick.
Mia: "Oh, frick"? The landlord's going to kill us.
Grey: Hey, chill out. You haven't even met the guy yet.
Mia: So he's not going to kill us?
Grey: Well, yeah. He'll definitely be pissed.
Mia: (whispering, panicked) Oh no.
Grey: Calm down, okay? It wasn't us.
Mia: But he doesn't know that!
Grey: Besides, we can paint it over.
Mia: Can we?
Grey: No idea. Lauren and Oscar have never pulled anything like this before.
Mia: They did this?
Grey: Oh, definitely. Don't you worry, though, I'll get them back. Will you help me?
Mia: This is not my fight. And won't you just make things worse? How did this happen, anyway? This rivalry, how did it start?
Grey: Honestly? I don't remember. But they definitely started it. Unless they didn't... Yeah, I don't really remember.
Mia: That is reassuring.
Grey: Wait, do you not want to move in anymore?
Mia: (quickly) No! No, I want to live here.
Grey: Okay. Well, I’m off to play some vid-ya-games.
[SFX: Grey WALKS AWAY.]
Mia: You need this, Mia. You can survive the antics, the rivalries, whatever. It’s not your problem.
[SFX: Scene transition music.]
[SFX: AIR CONDITIONER. Mia FINISHES MAKING HER BED.]
Mia: That’s my bedsheets done. I’ll just need to unpack my clothes now.
[SFX: SUBTLY CREEPY MUSIC starts playing.]
Mia: (shivers) Let me just… check the window above my bed real quick. Make sure our neighbors aren’t pranking us or something.
[SFX: Mia STEPS ONTO HER BED. It SQUEAKS as she does so.]
She peers out of the window.
[SFX: A crackling noise, like static with a deep bass.]
Mia: I could swear I just saw something flicker in the corner of my eye? ...No. No no no, nah, it’s nothing. Just my nerves. Talking to myself again. Very healthy behavior, isn’t it, Mia?
Grey: (from the living room, raising their voice) Mia!
[SFX: CREEPY MUSIC fades out.]
Mia: (also with raised voice) Yes, Grey?
Mia: I thought you didn't know how to cook!
Grey: I don't! This is me asking you if you'll cook something. Pretty please?
Mia: I'm coming!
[SFX: Mia's bed SQEAKS as she get off and WALKS to the door.]
[SFX: RAPID-FIRE SFX OF DINNER PREPARATION - Mia TAKING A PAN FROM THE CUPBOARD, CHOPPING ZUCCHINI, then CHOPPING ONION.]
Radio Announcer: You just heard [?] by kkim, and up next we have "Ivory Blush" by Jordan I. Lode. Enjoy it!
Grey: Oh my God my eyes! What is that?
[SFX: Calm COOKING MUSIC begins.]
Mia: … You do know what onions are, right?
[SFX: The stove is TURNED ON, VEGETABLES ARE THROWN INTO A PAN, then we hear SIZZLING VEGETABLES, then Mia THROWS RISOTTO RICE INTO THE PAN. It all SIZZLES. CUTLERY IS LAID OUT on the table.]
Grey: This risotto is really good, Mia. But yeah, anyway, I pressed Lauren and Oscar’s buzzer and ran away like a freaking antelope. Wait, are antelopes fast?
[SOUND: Grey's voice fades as if at a distance. COOKING MUSIC transitions to CREEPY MUSIC.]
Mia: Uh-uh. That’s great.
Grey: So then, for the rest of the week, they thought their buzzer was malfunctioning! Until they spotted me running away and they realized what was happening…
[SFX: MUSIC ends. AIR CONDITIONER.]
Mia: (yawns) Man, I’m tired. Can’t believe Grey’s still playing video games. Guess it’s time for bed.
[SFX: We hear a RAPID-FIRE SEQUENCE of Mia preparing to go to bed: taking off her clothes, showering, putting on her PJs, brushing her teeth, settling into bed, turning off the light with a final CLICK.]
[SFX: NIGHTMARE MUSIC begins. The sound here is ECHOEY, like we’re in a large, undefined space. People talking sound like they're ghostly whispers in the night. We also hear Mia’S FOOTSTEPS as she walks through Sycamore Crossing’s hallway.]
Past Mia: Sycamore Crossing. Strange name for an apartment complex.
Past Mia: It’s dark in here.
Past Grey: Oh hey! Are you the infamous Mia?
Past Grey: The door across from ours, number 42? The devils themselves live behind it.
Past Mia: I’m not taking part in this neighborly rivalry, though, if that’s okay. I just want to live a quiet life.
Past Mia: Oh, hi! Are you Lauren? Grey mentioned you, but-
[SFX: Dream Mia continues walking.]
Past Mia: It’s dark in here.
Low Voice: Mia… Mia…
Mia: Who’s there?
[SFX: Scary crackling noise.]
Past Mia: I could swear I just saw something flicker in the corner of my eye?
Grey: Maybe you did, Mia. Maybe they’ve found you. (echoing) Found you, found you…
Low Voice: Mia…
[SFX: The voices die down. In their place comes a SINGLE CONTINUOUS MUSICAL NOTE, a deep, eerie sound. Mia’s footsteps continue. The NOTE gets more and more overwhelming, with CREEPY MUSIC building behind it. Then, in the distance -]
[SFX: And suddenly all of the sound is sucked away as we move to-]
Grey: Mia! Mia, are you okay?
[SFX: AIR CONDITIONER.]
Mia: (confused) What?
[SFX: We hear the RUSTLING OF SHEETS as Mia sits up.]
I'm sorry I barged into your room, but - you were screaming. Are you okay?
Mia: (sniffles, still in shock) ...Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay.
Mia: Excuse me?
Grey: I'm just saying, you- you're crying. Clearly something's wrong.
Mia: I… I had a nightmare. I was walking through the hallway here in Sycamore Crossing… the hallway seemed unendingly long… and then I heard a continuous sound, and with it came this - this thing.
Grey: What thing?
Mia: It was like the gaping mouth of a creature intent on devouring you, only there was no creature attached to it. The mouth was so dark, darker than night, and it felt like it was pulling on me. Like it was trying to swallow me. Darkness pooled out of it, coloring the hallway dark a dark gray.
Grey: Okay. So basically what you’re saying is that it was like a huge black hole?
Mia: That’s one way of putting it. But way, way more terrifying than you’re thinking. Its presence... clutched my heart.
Grey: Sounds poetic.
[SFX: In the distance, a PHONE RINGS. EERIE MUSIC starts playing, similar to what we heard when Mia saw something from the window in her bedroom.]
Mia: Is that for us?
Grey: It must be. It's the living room phone. Come on, let’s answer it.
[SFX: Mia GETS OUT OF BED. She and Grey WALK into the living room. The phone RINGS still as they walk.]
Grey: Mia, you’re shaking.
Mia: Just trying to shake off the nightmare. I barely feel awake. Are you sure this isn’t another dream?
Like 80% sure?
[SFX: They reach the phone.]
Mia: What if it's the landlord? Maybe he heard me scream and he wants to throw me out.
Grey: No one's throwing you out. They'll have to go through me first, okay?
[SFX: The phone RINGS again. Grey PICKS IT UP.]
Grey: I'll put it on speaker.
[SFX: They PRESS A BUTTON.]
Phone Voice: You have awakened a dark presence. Soon, it will devour you.
Phone Voice: New girl, I am speaking to you. I know that you are there. I know that you are listening. It will come for you. Remember my voice. It is the last voice you will ever hear-
Grey: Oh, ha ha, very funny, Oscar.
Oscar and Lauren: (giggle)
Mia: (weakly) Oscar?
Grey: "You have awakened a dark presence"? Is that the best you can do? Get off the line.
Lauren: How did you like our graffiti?
Grey: Screw you, Lauren.
[SFX: Grey HANGS UP.]
Mia: That's their idea of a prank?
Grey: It's original, I'll give them that.
Mia: Why did they want to scare me? What have I ever done to them?
Grey: Well, you're my ally. That makes you their enemy.
Mia: Since when am I your ally?
Mia: No, sorry, I j- No, that's not what I meant. I'm going back to bed.
[SFX: We hear her FOOTSTEPS as she goes back to her bedroom. They STOP. The AIR CONDITIONER is still on in her room.]
Mia: Grey? Did you leave a… a metal thing on my bed?
Grey: (from the living room) Clarify “metal thing”.
Mia: It looks like a crank? Like it’s for turning levers or something. Ugh, it’s actually pretty gross. I think there’s oil on it. It’s ruining my bedsheets. I can’t sleep under these anymore, not until I wash them.
Grey: Ew. It must have been Lauren and Oscar.
Mia: Are you serious? Did they sneak in here while they were calling us? What the hell?
[SFX: Mia ENTERS the living room. The AIR CONDITIONER fades as she leaves her room.]
Mia: You know what, Grey?
Mia: Let's get them back. Let's prank them so hard they end up being afraid of us.
Grey: Seriously? You're in?
Mia: I'm in.
[SFX: Transition to HEIST MUSIC!]
Grey: (whispering) Okay, it's 9 am. They always leave the apartment around this time to get croissants.
Grey: I know, right? Aren't they fancy.
Mia: Just because it's a French word doesn't mean that croissants are fancy.
Grey: They could just eat cereal like the rest of us. Oh, here they come.
[SFX: Lauren and Oscar EXIT their apartment and CLOSE THE DOOR behind them. We hear their voices slowly fade out as they WALK towards the stairs.]
Lauren: I’m starving. I could eat a bear.
Oscar: Huh, I didn't think that was your type. Anyways, that's not the expression. Isn't it "I could eat a horse"?
Lauren: I’m improvising. Also, it’s early, so give my brain a break.
[SFX: In the distance, Oscar and Lauren DESCEND THE STAIRS. Their voices have faded.]
Grey: Coast is clear, Eagle One. Let’s go.
[SFX: We hear Grey and Mia’s FOOTSTEPS as they walk up to Lauren and Oscar’s apartment.]
Mia: Is it always this quiet?
Grey: Usually, yeah.
Mia: How many people live here?
Grey: On this floor, like five? A few apartments are empty. In total there are probably thirty residents. Not as many as the housing complex a few streets over.
Mia: Why is that?
Grey: I don't know. Some people think it's haunted here.
Mia: Are you serious?
[SFX: HEIST MUSIC intensifies]
Grey: Oh my god. Do you think Lauren and Oscar have been prank calling every apartment? Is that why people think it's haunted?
Mia: I highly doubt that.
Grey: So anyway, those jerks left their window open, so if I can just reach in and open it further... (straining) Almost there...
[SFX: We hear the WINDOW OPEN.]
Grey: Got it. Time to climb. (grunts as they climb through)
[SFX: Grey PULLS THEMSELVES UP THROUGH THE WINDOW, then FALLS TO THE GROUND.]
Grey: (panting) Made it! Come on through, Mia, the coast is clear.
[SFX: Mia CLIMBS THROUGH THE WINDOW, then also FALLS TO THE GROUND.]
Mia: Ouch. That was very graceful.
Grey: To business. Do you have the salt?
Mia: Right here.
Grey: Cool. I'll try to find their sugar bowl.
[SFX: We hear Grey's FOOTSTEPS as they explore the kitchen. HEIST MUSIC fades out.]
Mia: Wow, their kitchen is squeaky clean.
Grey: How do they do it?
Mia: They clean, I suppose.
Grey: I ask again: how do they do it?
Mia: Please tell me you occasionally clean the apartment.
Grey: You saw the apartment, didn't you? It's reasonably clean.
Mia: And it wasn't just Sarah who cleaned it sometime before she left?
Grey: ...No comment. (sighs) I miss Sarah.
Mia: Were you close?
Grey: She was my friend. I figured she'd at least tell me if she was leaving. We could have said goodbye.
SOUND: Grey OPENS A DRAWER.
Grey: Found the sugar bowl! I'll just dump the sugar in the trash? So then you can pour in the salt.
Mia: Wait, do you hear that?
[SFX: A DOOR OPENS. We hear FOOTSTEPS.]
Lauren: -okay, but if you hadn't talked over me, then none of this- (she sees Mia and Grey)
Mia: Oh no.
Oscar: What are you two doing in here?
Grey: Uhhhh nothing?
Lauren: Jesus, Grey, pranks are one thing but breaking in is a red freaking line.
Grey: Are you kidding me? You guys graffiti'd our wall! Do you not call that breaking in?
Lauren: The door was open!
Oscar: That was your fault, really.
Grey: Was it? And what about calling us in the middle of the night? Trying to scare Mia?
Oscar: That was an initiation.
Mia: I'd really rather stay out of this.
Lauren: Stay out of this? You're in our apartment. Get out!
Grey: Fine, we're leaving. We don't like it here anyway. It's ugly.
Oscar: It literally looks the same as your apartment!
Grey: No, it doesn't! You have different... furniture! Come Mia, let's go.
[SFX: We hear Grey AND Mia'S FOOTSTEPS.]
Lauren: Yeah, you'd better go. Flee into the hallway, miscreants.
[SFX: Mia's footsteps STOP.]
Mia: Can I ask you something? Why the crank?
Lauren: What crank?
Mia: The crank! The one you left in my bed! You literally broke in to leave it and you're getting angry at us?
Oscar: What are you talking about? We didn't leave anything in your bed.
Grey: Yeah, right!
Lauren: Grey, shut up. That wasn't us, whatever you're talking about. You think we'd go into your bedroom?
Mia: I think you're trying to scare me!
Lauren: Well, I think that you're a whiny little-
[SFX: Suddenly, we hear the CRACKLING NOISE followed by a CONTINUOUS NOTE and EERIE MUSIC. All four GASP.]
Oscar: (softly) Uh, what is that? Are you guys seeing what I’m seeing?
Grey: Mia, does that… does that look like the black hole you saw in your dream?
Mia: Yes. It looks exactly like the black hole I saw in my dream. And it feels even worse. I can’t… I can’t feel my heartbeat. I can only feel that thing.
[SFX: Suddenly, the sound and music END. It’s quiet for a beat.]
Oscar: It’s gone.
Lauren: What the hell was that?
Mia: Is it here for me?
[SFX: Transition to THEME MUSIC for outro.]
Voiceover: Darkened Hallways is written by Asa van der Lecq and produced by Kimberly Dauber. Our director is Kris Kim. Our production manager is Max Evans. Sound design is by John Bond, music is by Joelle Doriani, and cover art is by Manon Groos. Our sensitivity reader is Stacey Parshall Jensen. This episode featured Victoria Longe as Mia, PJ Hernandez as Grey, Ari Sylvin as Lauren, and Kelvyn Koning as Oscar. Darkened Hallways is a product of Hear Me Out Productions. Find our other shows at hearmeoutproductions.com or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow us on social media @HearMeOutProd. This show is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Thank you for visiting us at Sycamore Crossing. Come home soon - we'll be waiting.
[SFX: THEME MUSIC ENDS.]
Voiceover: Darkened Hallways is a creation of Hear Me Out Productions.
HMOP logotone: All we have are dreams and a microphone.
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