CRYPTID CAPE, S1 E3: An Outing with an Oracle
Published on August 6th, 2019
(soft upbeat music plays)
Avra: Regular human society or cryptid-filled beach town, at least one thing is consistent: the beauty of the weekend. Uh, thank god it’s Saturday. (mug taps on table, coffee is poured) My first issue of the Weekly came out yesterday. It could’ve done with some more polishing, but Roger thought it was solid, so I’m okay with it as my first one. Evie called yesterday to thank me again. Apparently some people had already contacted her about being students at the school in the future, so that’s pretty cool. (spoon taps lightly on mug as it stirs) It’s strange working for a paper in such a small town, your writing really has an effect. Not saying other big papers don’t have the same power, but as a journalist it’s not something you really get to witness firsthand unless you’re a Woodward or a Bernstein. (sips)
It’s, uh... it’s almost eleven now. (mug taps on table) I actually slept in today. It was nice to laze around a little bit. Read in bed, eat breakfast for lunch. I’m a fan. But the real world beckons as always and before I meet up with Lizzie and Francisco this afternoon, I have to do some chores. Mainly laundry. I’ll never figure out how my laundry piles up so fast. (footsteps click lightly) I feel like I washed everything in my closet yesterday.
(Avra flops onto a couch)
I ventured out to a restaurant last night. Roger and some of his coworkers from City Hall were going out to a little Thai place off of Main Street and he invited me to come along. Wanted me to introduce myself to the people I’d probably be talking to about any government news stories and such. It was nice, actually. I mean, eating spaghetti and meatballs while a vampire and a siren were debating tax increases was a bit odd, but it felt good to have company for dinner. None of them know what I am, as far as I know. Roger said that besides himself, the only person who knows I’m human is Lizzie. He felt really bad about telling her. He apologized probably a dozen times, but it doesn’t seem like she has a problem with it, so I assured him it was fine.
I haven’t been doing a fantastic job with keeping up appearances, though. Every time I see some new cryptid or some crazy goings-on, I gawk like a five-year-old at a magic show. My only saving grace is that most people consider some initial shock to be pretty normal for newcomers. I guess not a lot of them have lived in cryptid communities in the past. (sips) Roger told me not to lie, though, that it’d be better if I was honest about the human thing, instead of making something up, if anyone ever asked. “No one’s gonna eat you,” he said. “They’ll just get all huffy if they found out you lied.” (sighs in relief) Thank god, honestly. I’m a terrible liar.
(tape recorder click off)
(upbeat theme music plays)
Lizzie: Welcome to town.
Roger: You are essentially the one-woman band running Water’s Edge Weekly.
Avra: Maybe being in Water’s Edge will be different.
Francy: You’re not exactly as strange as the rest of us.
Roger: You’re not a cryptid, are you?
Victoria: Cryptid Cape, Episode 3: An Outing with an Oracle.
(theme music continues, then fades away)
(tape recorder clicks on, footsteps click on the ground, light traffic passes in the background, a door squeaks open to the light chatter of a coffee shop, the door clicks closed and Lizzie’s voice gets louder as Avra’s footsteps cross the floor)
Lizzie: ...her sister and she still didn’t come into work and I told her I really wouldn’t mind covering, but she insisted.
Francy: Ugh, she can be stubborn with that sorta thing. Oh, hey, Avra! You actually came by.
Avra: You thought I wouldn’t?
Francy: Oh, I mean, I didn’t really...
Lizzie: Francy thought you were too scared, said you’d be running out of town after a week of absurdity.
Francy: (scoffs) I did not! Don’t, don’t listen to her.
Lizzie: (laughs lightly) Nah, I was more skeptical than him. Didn’t think you’d stick around long enough for a formal tour.
Avra: Yeah, stuff is pretty strange around here, but I don’t think I’ll just up and leave. I did sign a six-month lease, after all.
Lizzie: Glad that’s what’s keeping you.
Francy: Where at?
Avra: Uh, down near the beach.
Francy: Oh, nice. What street? Or are you right on the water?
Avra: Uh, you know what? I can’t even remember. Stupid brain, always forgetting things.
Francy: Mmhmm, forgot your address. Right.
Lizzie: Well, before we begin our epic tour of this lovely little town, Francy’s got some coffee concoction for you to try.
Francy: I do, indeed. (pouring coffee) I call this one the Raspberry Seabreeze.
Avra: (sips) Oh, wow, that’s delicious.
Lizzie: Alright, let’s get outta here.
(tape recorder clicks off)
(light upbeat music)
Avra: I decided not to record during our little tour. I don’t know, it just felt too... clinical, like if I left the recorder on it would mean that I thought of Lizzie and Francy’s friendly gesture as more of a business venture. Probably not a great follow-up to the awkwardness with Francy. The tour was nice. A lot of bits and pieces that remind me of West Chester and the towns we used to vacation at during the summer. Mom and Dad have gone to a different beach town every year since they started dating. It’s become a family tradition and I’ve gone with them since I was born. I wonder if they ever passed through Water’s Edge.
I mean, there are so many beach towns, those chances are pretty slim. But… I think they would like it here, it seems pretty nice. The first thing Lizzie explained to me is that the island’s broken into informal sections. There’s the Main Drag, incorporating the area that surrounds Main Street and Ocean Avenue, which is the street that connects the ocean to the mainland bridge. Then there’s the beach, obviously, and Trust Fund Alley where all the giant rental houses and most expensive hotels sit waiting for rich parents to stick their kids there for the summer. Despite the name, Francy said there aren’t usually too many like that. He said there were some nice people that did stay in that part of the town, but Lizzie seemed to disagree.
Dezi’s house falls into the Beach Burb area, named as such because it’s the closest thing to a suburb that one can get on this island. That’s where most of the houses sit, rentals and permanent residences alike, with a few businesses scattered here and there. After that, the only other thing is the Boardwalk, which seems like a pretty awesome place to hang out during the summer. I’ll have to hit it up if I’m still here. It’s a mile and a half long and typically dotted with pop-up shops and food carts, according to Lizzie and Francy. There’s a community center attached to one end and a little pier with amusement park rides on the other. Most things are closed for the season already, but the amusement park opens every Friday and Saturday for the folks in town and the Community Center is open all year doing concerts and other events and things. Apparently both are owned and operated by a trio of fairies, so there’s that.
But uh, but yeah, that’s the island. Well, there is another area near the shores of the bay. Residents call it the Wetlands on account of all the marshy grass. It’s buggy and unstable and not a great place to build a house. A few people do call it home, though, so we decided to go by. We were walking down the closest town road to the Wetlands, trying to avoid the mud puddles that had accumulated in half-developed potholes, and then I… well, I heard something that made me turn my recorder on.
(recorder clicks on, crickets chirp, a garbled, incomprehensible whisper chants in the background)
Avra: I really hope the recorder is catching this.
Lizzie: Catching... what, exactly?
Avra: You don’t hear that weird whispering? It sounds like it’s coming from... I actually don’t know where it’s coming from.
Francy: Are you screwing with us, Avra?
Avra: No, of course not! How can you guys not hear it? Hold on.
(tape recorder clicks off)
(calm dark music in background)
Avra: I stopped the tape so I could play it back to see if I was capturing anything. Lizzie’s and Francy’s confusion was making me question if I was hearing things. But when I played it back for them I heard it there, quiet under our voices, but clear as day. And neither of them heard it. Lizzie was giving me a look of straight confusion, but Francy seemed to be concerned, started asking me if I was feeling alright. I laughed it off and pretended I was just confusing whispering with the whistle of the wind through the marsh grass, and they both seemed to relax.
We left after that and ended our tour with a trip to Grimaldi’s Italian Restaurant. They wanted to show me the fanciest food on the island, but when we got there we decided that splitting a pepperoni and red pepper pizza sounded way better than any pasta dish. Francy’s dad happens to own the joint, which I guess is why we went. (chuckles) So the manager gave us our food for free. Instead, he took payment in embarrassing Francy with telling Lizzie and I a couple baby stories.
Today was nice. I realize I keep describing things with that same word, “nice,” but, I mean, it is. And I guess I just don’t know this place well enough to give it a more descriptive word than “nice.”
But Lizzie and Francy are pretty cool people. I don’t know why they’re going so out of their way to make me feel like I belong here. I know having friends is a thing, but Lizzie knows about me. And I’m sure she told Francy, too. I just can’t see why they’d be so keen on making quick friends with a human. Especially if that human is me. I would like them as friends, though. Maybe I should stop trying to sabotage myself and embrace the possibility that somebody might actually want to hang out with me. My, oh my, wouldn’t Dr. Francis be proud? (yawns) I should sleep. G’night, recorder, sweet mechanical dreams.
(tape recorder clicks off, music continues, then fades out)
(tape recorder clicks on)
It’s there. The whispers are there, I know they are. I couldn’t sleep, they just kept replaying in my head like an earworm. It’s some foreign language I can’t place, and the voice... I don’t even know how to describe this voice. It moves like one entity, rising and falling and enunciating exactly as a voice should, but there are... there are tones to it, layers almost. As if five or six or maybe even ten people are speaking in perfect unison. It’s not a hallucination, it can’t be, they never persist for this long, and it’s definitely not the wind. I can hear the grass rustling and it’s a separate sound. I need to go back.
(cellphone call ringing)
Roger: (over phone) Hello?
Avra: Roger, hey, it’s Avra.
Roger: Oh, hello! Good morning, what can I do for you? Oh, wonderful job on that first issue, by the way. I finally got around to reading it last night, really incredible job. I especially loved the goat chase photos. Francisco sure is a trooper when it comes to wrangling those guys.
Avra: Oh, thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Roger: Absolutely. Now I’m sure you called for a reason, what can I help you out with today?
Avra: Well, I was calling to see what you knew about the Wetlands area of the island?
Roger: The Wetlands? Hm, what about it? I mean there’s lots of bugs, and mud, and a few hermits cooped up in their hobbit holes, but...
Avra: Well, I was wondering if you knew of any residents who live around there who have some sort of... uh, whispering ability?
Roger: You’re looking for people… who can talk softly? (laughing) I’m not sure that’s a cryptid-exclusive ability, Avra.
Avra: (chuckles) Of course, of course. I should clarify. It’s like a sort of whispering that doesn’t seem to have a single source? It’s… it’s as if it’s coming from all around you, like multiple people are speaking in time?
Roger: Huh. Well, that does sound like something a little bit less human, doesn’t it? I’m afraid I don’t know anyone around that area who engages in anything of that sort, or anywhere on the island, really. Did you hear something while you were down there?
Avra: (hesitates) Uh, no, I didn’t, I got an anonymous tip about it. It sounded strange, but I thought it was something that was worth looking into. My mistake.
Roger: No skin off my back, Avra. Glad you’re staying aware of everything going on. I’d much rather you be too curious than not curious enough in your profession. I’ve gotta run, I have to tend to my garden, but let me know if you need anything else. Looking forward to that next issue!
Avra: (chuckles) Thanks, talk to you soon.
(cellphone hang up tone, tape recorder clicks off)
(tape recorder clicks on, crickets chirp, Avra’s footsteps through grass)
Okay, look, I realize this is a bad idea, going out here on the edge of town, at night, without anyone knowing where I am. (footsteps stop) Oh. Shit, okay, yeah, that just sank in. (footsteps continue) Maybe I should’ve told someone where I... (footsteps stop, chanting whispers start in background) There it is again. It sounds like it’s coming from... behind me? But also to the sides. Maybe even from above? It should be super unsettling, right? But it’s not. It’s actually kind of soothing. Huh. Maybe if I... (Avra’s footsteps start again)
Francy: (faint) Avra? (rapid footsteps approach)
(louder) Hey, Avra!
Francy: Get in the car, c’mon.
(footsteps move away, a car doors open)
Avra: What? What are you doing here?
(car doors slam closed)
Francy: What the hell, Avra? You literally just got here and you’re already trying to get yourself killed?
Avra: What are you--? How did you know I was here?
Francy: Lizzie saw it. She’s working, so she sent me to check on you. Thought you might do something stupid, guess she was right.
Avra: (annoyed) I’m doing my job.
Francy: Last time I checked being an editor doesn’t involve walking into a monster-infested marsh. Bad people live there, Avra. (calm music fades in) Bad cryptids that were banished out here for a reason. They’re powerful and don’t respect the rules we’ve made to protect visiting humans. You were following a voice, right? Speaking Latin?
Avra: Latin, that’s what it was! You heard it too?
Francy: No. Only some humans can. It’s a dark siren song and following it will get you killed. I didn’t realize that’s what you were hearing until a couple hours ago.
Ligeia lives out here and she’s a siren from the depths of the Atlantic and she’s been working her magic on unsuspecting sailors for centuries. We put wards up during the summer to keep regular tourists away, but without humans in town it’s not worth the effort. I forgot it was even an issue, none of the cryptids in town can fall to the song. I’m sorry for spooking you. There are dangerous things here, but I’m not one of them, and neither is Lizzie. You can trust us, and you should. You seem cool, I don’t want you getting eaten or something. (chuckles)
Francy: I mean, that’s very unlikely. There’s like, one cryptid I’ve ever known who actually eats people and that was in Canada. Sorry.
Avra: It’s okay, thanks for rescuing me.
Francy: Anytime. Just don’t make it a frequent thing, doesn’t do much good for my anxiety.
Avra: Of course. Do you want a ride home?
Francy: That would be amazing.
(tape recorder clicks off, music continues)
Avra: So, no more trips to the Wetlands. At least not by myself. After I dropped Francy off, I texted Lizzie to thank her for looking out. She said she was glad I was still in one piece and would’ve come herself to rescue me, damsel-in-distress style, but she had a full dining room to tend to. (laughs lightly) That siren song is still stuck in my head. It’s like a creepy Latin lullaby. I don’t want to go to sleep with it replaying like this, I feel like that’s a bad thing. Dezi has a piano here, a baby grand I think. Maybe I can dig up some of those middle school lessons.
(Avra plays the beginning notes of “Hot Crossed Buns” on the piano)
(sarcastically) Oh, what a maestro. Good stuff, Avra, good stuff. Maybe I could—
(cellphone rings, tone cust off when answered)
Officer Jenkins: Avra Nunez?
Avra: Yes, this is she.
Officer Jenkins: This is Officer Jenkins. I hear you’re the new Editor in Chief of the Weekly.
Avra: Uh, yes, that’s correct.
Officer Jenkins: Good. Could you meet me at the water tower? Right now. We have something you might be interested in.
(calm music fades out)
(upbeat theme music plays, fading into the background as Victoria speaks)
Victoria: Thank you for listening to episode three of Cryptid Cape: “An Outing with an Oracle.” The show is created and produced by me, Victoria Pereira. I also voice Avra. The voice of Lizzie is Christina Rose Hargis. The voice of Francisco is Aubrey King. The voice of Roger is Christopher Medina. The voice of Officer Jenkins is Michael Manaloto. Our theme song is “Pink Nights in Ohio” by Ryan Andersen. The other songs featured in this episode were “Fender Bender” by Bad Snacks, “After All” by Geographer, “Far the Days Come” by Letter Box, and “Nidra in the Sky with Ayler” by Jesse Gallagher. Our cover art was created by Christy Duprey. Be sure to subscribe to Cryptid Cape so you don’t miss our next episode, we publish every two weeks. In the meantime, check us out on Facebook at Cryptid Cape Podcast, or our Twitter, @CryptidCape. And tell your friends if you enjoyed this episode, it means the world. See you next time.
(theme music fades out)