Someone Dies In This Elevator is a spoiler-driven anthology podcast. We hope you enjoy this episode. In I Won’t Go Gently, Wise men at their end know dark is right, but these men will face the night.
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This episode contains violence and death in an elevator.
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Jose Nateras (he/him) as Xavi.
Matt Desrosiers (he/him) as James.
Jordan Cobb (she/her) as Mother Night.
Written and Directed by Samy Souissi (he/him).
Script Editing by Jesse Schuschu (he/him).
Dialogue Editing by Talon Stradley (he/him).
Sound Design and Mastering by Tal Minear (they/them).
Music by Trace Callahan (they/she).
Executive Produced by Colin J Kelly (he/him) and Tal Minear (they/them).
Artwork by Tal Minear (they/them).
Marketing by Ali Fuller (they/them)
Someone Dies In This Elevator Series Trailer is their Collective Work under Sound Escape Productions, a profit-sharing podcast collective.
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Transcript for I Won’t Go Gently as follows:
XAVI (voiceover): I wake up before him. On the ground of a giant glass box… And no idea how I got here. Before I even try to register my environment, I reach out to him. He’s unconscious, in full hiking gear and boots stained with fresh mud. His hand still closed on one of his throwing knives. James.
My mind is in pieces but my body knows- My arms remember his, my waist knows his hands and my heart thumps in worry. But he’s breathing. He’s breathing- It’s alright. I can finally exhale- look around- and take it all in. Outside the elevator I find the eternal night. Stars and nebulas, galaxies nested beyond shimmering clouds… Space. We’re in space- and I’m in awe.
JAMES: (grunts awake): XAVI: James?
JAMES: Xavi…? Oh- wowowow no-no-no-NO!
XAVI: Hey it’s okay, it’s okay! I’m here, I’m here, we’re fine.
JAMES: What the- The walls, the walls! Xavi where are the fucking walls!
XAVI: (gently): It’s okay, I got you. I got you sweetie. Look at me, look at me. What’s your name?
XAVI (voiceover): I see him try to quiet his breathing, frustrated by my insistence.
JAMES: James- My name is James.
XAVI: That’s right- No, look at me. How are you feeling?
JAMES: I’m in a giant fucking glass box in the middle of space and I’m wearing shorts Xavi, if this thing breaks what the fuck are we- [gonna do]
XAVI: (Talking over): Okay- so you agree, it doesn’t make sense, right?
XAVI (voiceover): I see him blink, as he leans away from me.
JAMES: …It doesn’t feel like an illusion.
XAVI: It would be a pretty bad one if it did, don’t you think?
JAMES: We’re moving, Xavi.
XAVI: What do you mean?
JAMES: You see that lever?
XAVI: Wait- is this an elevator?
JAMES: And it’s going up.
XAVI: It’s not. We think we’re moving, Magic is all about the brain, no tangible effects.
JAMES: I definitely, saw a warlock set someone on fire when I was a kid.
XAVI: And you saw the flames?
JAMES: Yep. No match, no gasoline, nothing- just poof. Fire.
JAMES: Still? That’s not tangible?!
XAVI: If your mind is so convinced that you’re burning, that your cells are collapsing and fire’s eating your skin… The shock will still kill you.
JAMES: But it’s not…real.
XAVI: Real is just perception. If someone can mess with your senses… then you can burn.
JAMES: Doesn’t feel right- This is different.
XAVI: Hey I don’t dispute your expertise on the sciency stuff- I’d appreciate if you left the mystical to me.
JAMES: (Slight outburst because of panic): Yeah but I don’t have the audacity to think I know everything about my field of- [study]
XAVI: (interrupting; cold): Well we are not the same.
XAVI (voiceover): And the ice in my voice pierces through his panic. I see him make an effort, and then his shoulder relaxes. For a moment he’ll ignore his doubts. For me.
JAMES: What’s the last thing you remember?
XAVI: I keep trying but–
JAMES: We got into the temple…
XAVI: The temple?…the temple! The map was right!
JAMES: Yeah. Electronics stopped working, our lights went out. And then-
XAVI (voiceover): James locks eyes with me, so quickly, so desperately that I freeze in place. He probes for an echo of his own memories in me…. And he finds it. I see him tense and recoil, ever-so-subtly, his entire body rejects what his mind already knows.– Pain. And a scream he had hoped to never hear.
JAMES: …I think we died.
XAVI (voiceover): I resist the impulse to -lovingly-call him a dumbass- and frown instead. The idea is laughable, downright naïve and- When you’ve dedicated your life to bounty hunting and curse-undoing, it should really take more than a space elevator– to give in to superstition. But I don’t say any of that. Because nothing he told me ever rang so right. And as he looks up again, past me. I already know what I’ll find when I turn around.
MOTHER NIGHT: Welcome back, children
XAVI (voiceover): We spend our entire lives in the dark, winging it as we go with only one guarantee. That one day, we will die. And only after it’s done do you realize it’s not something we figured out, it’s something that was passed on to us.
This one truth, as a gift from our maker. And I immediately understand she is more than every song they wrote about her.
She is the clear, obvious truth that we are loved. That someone made us with infinite care and watched excitingly as we roamed the earth. That someone decided we should be able to laugh, and weep, and figure ourselves out. Mother night… Is beautiful.
Her skin darker than sleep and her hair laced with stars. And oh! How she longed to see us again, each and everyone of us, but how she wished it would come later. How she hoped we would have a little more time, just for one more lesson, one more surprise along the way.
JAMES: Mother Night…
XAVI (voiceover): Neither of us had heard of her name before but we were now in a realm of certainty. The truth didn’t have to be found out, it just was.
MOTHER NIGHT: You were always so prepared, my love. I should have known you’d come bearing gifts.
JAMES: I’m sorry… I… I don’t.
MOTHER NIGHT: Then what is that smile, if not for me? That gentle tremor, as you said my name?
XAVI (voiceover): A first tear rolls down Jame’s face. And I feel a strange… almost alien feeling, bubbling under the quiet. Way below the peace that Mother Night brought to my thoughts.
It’s… Anger. And with it, a certainty. James shouldn’t be crying.
MOTHER NIGHT: Every time one of you returns- I’m amazed at how little I know. I spend so much time on details– On the arc of your lips or the canvas in your eyes… And I always think I’ll know exactly the way you’ll look at me, when you come back. And yet…. I can never predict the notes of your laugh nor the weight of your tears. To this day… You never cease to amaze me.
XAVI (voiceover): James tries to move a little closer, like a toddler drawn to open arms- But my hand grabs his arm, and pull him close. Only then does he seem to remember my presence…as he looks at me and say:
JAMES: I am so…sorry.
JAMES: You would have been… extraordinary.
XAVI: James what are you talking about?
JAMES: You’re stubborn and proud and completely paradoxical and I could never figure you out but when I stopped attempting to…I saw how hard you were trying. Every step of the way you strove to become you, completely and entirely you. You do the right thing, you’re funny, you’re kind, you’re a fucking bingo card of qualities and– People loved you for it… You would have been so good to this world… And now look where I led you.
XAVI: This is how you feel…? About me?
JAMES: This is so little Xavi, I don’t-I’m not good with words I’m just… So sorry.
XAVI (voiceover): His gaze lowers, seeing him like this, his neck exposed like a lamb to the slaughter… The Anger turns to rage. This is wrong, wrong, WRONG!
JAMES: I’m ready, Mother Night. For wherever you will take me.
XAVI (voiceover): The dark silhouette gets up, with the ease of the tides, and James closes his eyes, weeping quietly.
And all I can say is:…
XAVI: I’m sorry.
XAVI (voiceover): James looks up and Mother night stops.
XAVI: I’m so fucking sorry because you were wrong this is definitely an illusio(disappointed): Ah…
XAVI: And that’s not a god that’s a witch.
MOTHER NIGHT: So be it.
(MOTHER NIGHT UNSHEATHES A DAGGER.)
XAVI (voiceover): The elevator is about 2 meters wide and 4 meters long. James is still incapacitated, I’m unarmed, and she’s got a mean-looking 9 inch blade with teeth and tetanus in hand. But as she said… So be it.
(VWOOSH SOUND EFFECT XAVI’S LEG SWIPES.)
XAVI (voiceover): My leg swipes the floor and forces Mother Night to step back. I have a split second to get up, a split-second to– I stay low instead. I saw it in the twist of her ankle and the grip on her dagger: she would have struck me down immediately. Knees bent, I fake the move she awaits and duck down again.
(KNIFE THROUGH THE AIR.)
XAVI (voiceover): The dagger swipes the air an inch away from my scalp… And I take on step forward. I enter her guard and hit twice- Stomach and liver-
MOTHER NIGHT: (TWO IMPACT SOUNDS; GRUNTS)
XAVI (voiceover): Before jumping away. You don’t push your luck with a blade like that. Mother night takes the hit- quite admirably- but her focus is shattered and the illusion quickly follows.
(BROKEN GLASS/FORCE FIELD FAILURE)
XAVI (voiceover): Galaxies and nebulas vanish like a soaked painting- Even Mother Night looses her divine aura, as fade the stars in her hair.
MOTHER NIGHT: This is no place for the living!
XAVI: Whenever you want James!
JAMES: It’s all gone… Everything is gone…
MOTHER NIGHT: You were wrong to call it a temple, little man… This is a tomb.
XAVI: Then I’m afraid I won’t go gently, Mother Night.
MOTHER NIGHT: The wolf howls. The moon doesn’t care.
XAVI (voiceover): Already she strikes. But this time she doesn’t repeat her mistake, this time she truly sees me. Fists, elbows and knees… My body is a weapon and she’s too experienced to ignore the signs. I don’t stand a chance. So I take a leap of faith. I strike, an over-extended left hook that has no chance to hit and leaves my guard wide open. And I brace myself. For the iron teeth and the pain… But It never comes.
(A WHISTLING KNIFE THROUGH THE AIR.)
XAVI (voiceover): James’ knife whistles through the air- and finds the Witch’s heart. It wasn’t so much a hook as a side-step, an opening for him. An act of trust so stupid I can’t help but let out a nervous laugh, as Mother Night collapses.
JAMES: Close one.
XAVI: -Thank god you were faking it.
JAMES: OH– MY GOD!
JAMES: YOU DIDN’T KNOW?
XAVI: I mean there was a chance she had destroyed your mind, yeah. The whiplash from fantasy to reality can be-
JAMES: Are you joking me! Have you seen that fucking thing she was wielding why would you risk it!
XAVI: I saw it as a win-win.
JAMES: (Deep, frustrated sigh): …Explain?
XAVI: Option 1: you’re not faking it, you’re now a shell of a man- and frankly, I’d rather die than see that. Option 2: You are faking it and here we are.
JAMES: How- fucking dare you, don’t ever take a risk like that again or I will end you.
XAVI: And I love you too.
JAMES: (sighs): …Are you hurt?
XAVI: Just a couple bruises.
JAMES: Let me see your ribs.
XAVI: Hey you can just ask if you want me to take my shirt off- I don’t mind.
JAMES: (interrupting): Hey, tough guy? Let me care, okay?
(SHIRT BEING LIFTED. BACKPACK RUSTLING.)
JAMES: Doesn’t seem too bad– That one’s gonna hurt tomorrow but I have a good balm for it. Just remind me okay?
JAMES: Promise you won’t do it again.
XAVI: I promise.
JAMES: Oh fuck off-
JAMES: You’re a better liar than that, you could at least try.
XAVI: Oh so lies you can see through, but not illusions?
JAMES: Did you lie?
JAMES: Are you lying now?
JAMES: (Slightly amused): Okay-
XAVI: I promise.
JAMES: Thank you.
(JAMES STEPS IN BLOOD.)
JAMES: Oh gross- back off, I’m not kissing you when there’s a dead witch on the floor. How do we get out of here?
XAVI: Gimme just a second.
(XAVI KNOCKS ON A WALL A FEW TIMES.)
JAMES: Also, why go through all this trouble? Why didn’t she just stab us?
XAVI: I mean, look at happened when she tried.
XAVI: And also we’re probably the first visitors in decades, she probably just wanted to show off a little… Magic is fun.
JAMES: (sarcastic): Oh yeah, time of my life.
XAVI: Wait, the- This is an elevator?! The lever is real!
(XAVI PULLS A LEVER. THE ELEVATOR STARTS TO MOVE.)
JAMES: In an ancient, abandoned temple?
XAVI: That can’t lead anywhere nice.
JAMES: You found your light?
XAVI: Yeah, lost my rifle though.
JAMES: Hey… How did you know?
XAVI: About what?
JAMES: The illusion. Because I get I’m not the most knowledgeable but… She was strong.
XAVI: One of the best I’ve seen, yeah.
JAMES: Then how?
XAVI: Because we die alone James- If you were here it meant there was still something to fight for.
XAVI (voiceover): I don’t have to say anything else-the rest he knows, the rest is too obvious for words.
(THE ELEVATOR STOPS.)
XAVI: Lead the way.