Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Columbia Workshop
Show: Carmilla
Date: Jul 20 1940

CAST:
DODGE, wealthy businessman
CARMILLA, teenage house guest
HELEN, teenage daughter
WITHERSPOON, elderly minister
MRS. RUDD, the Irish housekeeper
TONY, the Italian gardener
MOTHER, of Carmilla
OPERATOR, New York
2ND OPERATOR, Quebec
SHERIFF
DEPUTY

ANNOUNCER:

The Columbia Workshop presents "Carmilla," from a story by Sheridan Le Fanu, adapted by Lucille Fletcher. Workshop audiences will recall Miss Fletcher as the author of the Workshop's recent comedy success, "My Client Curley." In her adaptation tonight, she works in a new vein. Le Fanu's "Carmilla" was a favorite horror story of mid-nineteenth century England. Miss Fletcher's adaptation brings his story up to date with a modern setting. And here is Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla."

MUSIC:

CARMILLA'S THEME ("LONGUEURS") ... MELANCHOLY IMPRESSIONIST SOLO PIANO ... FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... OUT WITH--

SOUND:

LONG, LOW RUMBLE OF THUNDER ... TELEPHONE RINGS, RECEIVER UP

WITHERSPOON:

Dr. Witherspoon speaking.

DODGE:

(FILTER) Is this the Reverend Witherspoon?

WITHERSPOON:

Yes.

DODGE:

(FILTER) Uh, this is J. S. Dodge. Do you remember me, Dr. Witherspoon? I - I have the big place on Maple Hill.

WITHERSPOON:

Oh, yes, Mr. Dodge, I remember you.

DODGE:

(FILTER) I'm in trouble, Dr. Witherspoon. Can you come over to my house at once?

WITHERSPOON:

Why, of course.

DODGE:

(FILTER) Thank you. It's a matter of life and death.

SOUND:

DEAFENING CLAP OF THUNDER! ... FOR TRANSITION

DODGE:

Dr. Witherspoon, my daughter Helen is dying.

WITHERSPOON:

Oh, I'm sorry.

DODGE:

You must help me save her life.

WITHERSPOON:

Only God can do that, Mr. Dodge.

DODGE:

We'll talk about that later. Come, she's in her bedroom here.

SOUND:

DODGE KNOCKS ON BEDROOM DOOR

MRS. RUDD:

(FROM BEHIND DOOR) Who's there?

DODGE:

It's I, Mrs. Rudd. With Dr. Witherspoon.

MRS. RUDD:

(FROM BEHIND DOOR) Yes, sir.

SOUND:

BEDROOM DOOR OPENS

DODGE:

(PAUSE, GENTLY) Helen?

HELEN:

(WEAK) Hmmmm?

DODGE:

Helen, it's papa.

HELEN:

(HALF DELIRIOUS) Is Carmilla with you?

DODGE:

Here's the minister, Helen. You remember Dr. Witherspoon.

HELEN:

I want Carmilla. Why don't they send Carmilla to me? What have you done to her?

MRS. RUDD:

There, there, dear. Lie down.

HELEN:

Bring her back. (WEAKER) Bring her back.

MRS. RUDD:

You best go out of the room, sir. It makes her [waste her breath?].

HELEN:

Go find Carmilla. Find her. Bring her back.

SOUND:

BEDROOM DOOR SQUEAKS SHUT

DODGE:

She's been like that for hours, Dr. Witherspoon.

WITHERSPOON:

Can't the doctors do anything?

DODGE:

(WITH DISGUST) Oh, the doctors are fools!

WITHERSPOON:

Er, Mr. Dodge -- who is this person your daughter keeps calling for? This, er, Carmilla?

DODGE:

I'll tell you everything in a moment, but first, Dr. Witherspoon, there's something I must check. You are an antiquarian, aren't you?

WITHERSPOON:

Yes. In a small way. I've written some pamphlets for the New England Historical Society on old Puritan--

DODGE:

That's all I wanted to know. Sit down, please. Before I tell you my story, I want you to look at me. Do I seem normal to you -- or insane?

WITHERSPOON:

Why, er, you seem rather overwrought, sir. But I would say -- quite sane.

DODGE:

Then perhaps you will believe me. (NARRATES) My story, I think, begins two months ago, on a warm night in June, when I heard this car skid, followed by a terrific crash. I called Tony, our gardener; we ran down the drive to the state highway. A black limousine of some fancy foreign make had taken the curve too fast, sideswiped a tree, and landed half in the ditch. Glass was lying all over the road. A tall woman, dressed in black, was standing nearby and crying her eyes out.

MOTHER:

(WEEPS, HYSTERICAL) Oh, get her out of there! Oh, my poor little Carmilla! For heaven's sake, get her out! She's dead!

DODGE:

(APPROACHES) What's the matter, madam? Anything we can do?

MOTHER:

Oh, I don't know, I don't know! She's in there!

DODGE:

Who's in there?

MOTHER:

My daughter Carmilla! Oh, we hit something! I can't get the back door open!

DODGE:

Well, maybe we can open it. Here, Tony, give a hand!

TONY:

Yes, Mis' Dodge.

DODGE:

(WITH EFFORT) Okay, now, pull!

SOUND:

CAR DOOR OPENS EASILY

DODGE:

(SURPRISED) Why, it opens quite easily.

MOTHER:

Oh, does it? Oh, get her out quickly, please.

DODGE:

Here she is, on the floor. Okay, Tony. Now, take it easy.

TONY:

Yes, Mis' Dodge.

SOUND:

DODGE AND TONY LIFT CARMILLA OUT OF CAR

DODGE:

All right, there. Uh, give me that other auto blanket there.

TONY:

All right.

DODGE:

We'll lay it on the grass over here.

MOTHER:

(EXHALES, HORRIFIED) Is she dead?!

DODGE:

No, just seems to have fainted. She'll be all right. Run up to the house, Tony; get some water.

TONY:

Yes, Mis' Dodge.

MOTHER:

Oh, I was in such a hurry. I have to get to Canada by tomorrow morning.

DODGE:

Canada? Why, that's a good seven hundred miles.

MOTHER:

I know, but I've got to be there!

CARMILLA:

(MOANS)

MOTHER:

She's opening her eyes. Carmilla? Speak to mama. Are you all right?

CARMILLA:

Mama, I-- Where am I?

DODGE:

(NARRATES) Tony came back with the water, and Helen. She's always been a great one to help people and-- Well, she fussed over the girl; gave her water; spoke nicely to her; and it wasn't any time at all before the kid was up and on her feet again -- when what does the mother do but ask me a funny question.

MOTHER:

You wouldn't happen to know of a good hotel anywhere around this neighborhood, would you?

DODGE:

Hotel? Let's see--

MOTHER:

I don't want it for myself. I - I want it for Carmilla.

DODGE:

You mean you're not taking her with you to Canada?

MOTHER:

Oh, I don't see how I can. I've got to get there by tomorrow morning at the very latest. And she's certainly in no condition to travel.

HELEN:

Papa? Why can't she stay with us?

DODGE:

With us?

HELEN:

Why, yes, papa. We've got loads of room. (BEAT) Oh, please, papa, please -- say yes. Please do.

DODGE:

(NARRATES) It was an awkward moment. I-- Ordinarily, I don't take to strangers, but these people were well-bred, rich, and-- Well, Helen just begged me. Ever since her mother died, I've never been able to resist anything she ever wanted. I know she'd been lonely out here in the country so far from her friends, so I said yes.

SOUND:

CAR DOOR SLAMS ... ENGINE IDLES

MOTHER:

Goodbye, Mr. Dodge. I don't know how I shall ever thank you enough.

DODGE:

That's all right. We'll look after her. And, er, you think you'll be back in three weeks?

MOTHER:

Oh, at the very latest. It was so kind of you--

DODGE:

And, er, in case you don't come back by then, is there any way I can get in touch with you?

MOTHER:

Oh, of course. You can reach me in Canada. Just a moment, I'll give you my card. Here it is. (READS) "Mrs. C. Wood, Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges, Quebec, Canada." I haven't got the telephone number with me, but the long distance operator will give it to you.

DODGE:

Well, thanks. Thanks a lot. Well, goodbye and lots of luck.

MOTHER:

Goodbye. Goodbye, Carmilla darling.

CARMILLA:

(EVENLY) Goodbye, mama.

DODGE:

Bye!

BIZ:

(EVERYONE CHIMES "BYE!")

SOUND:

CAR IS PUT IN GEAR AND NOISILY ROARS AWAY ... SLOWLY FADES OUT BEHIND--

DODGE:

(NARRATES) The car drove off like a house afire. Seemed to scare even the dogs. We heard one howling far down the road long after after it went by. I don't know why, but I felt depressed. But Helen was as happy as a lark about the whole thing. I'd never realized before how lonely she must have been all by herself until I saw how she acted with Carmilla.

SOUND:

KNOCK AT BEDROOM DOOR

HELEN:

Carmilla? Are you up yet?

CARMILLA:

(FROM BEHIND DOOR) Come in.

SOUND:

BEDROOM DOOR OPENS ... THEN SHUTS BEHIND--

HELEN:

(CHEERFUL) Good morning! Or maybe I should say good afternoon. Do you know it's almost two o'clock?

CARMILLA:

(SLIGHT YAWN) But I still feel tired.

HELEN:

(CHUCKLES)

CARMILLA:

Do you know what time mama and I get up at home? Five o'clock in the afternoon.

HELEN:

(CHUCKLES IN DISBELIEF) Oh, Carmilla--

CARMILLA:

That's a real time to get up. When the light is all soft and golden. And the sky is pale blue, like a painting by Mulier. And the birds are going to sleep.

HELEN:

(LAUGHS) Oh, but you miss everything if you get up that late.

CARMILLA:

Oh, no, you don't.

HELEN:

Well, come on now. I've got a million things to show you -- the house and the pool and the garden-- (FADES OUT)

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

HELEN:

Look, Carmilla. Isn't this an adorable summer house? My mother used to like to sit here, too -- just before she died.

CARMILLA:

Death--?

HELEN:

Oh, let's not talk about it.

CARMILLA:

What a beautiful passion flower vine.

HELEN:

That's Tony's doing. He raises them. They're supposed to be very rare.

CARMILLA:

Look at this flower. (SLOW, SENSUOUS) It's like an exquisite insect. Look at these trickles of lavender. And its hungry green stamens curving upward. Like claws.

HELEN:

Tony tells me that the reason they're called passion flowers is because they're a symbol of the passion of our love.

CARMILLA:

Silly superstition. They're really a symbol of human passion. Everything about them is wild! And hungry. (BEAT) Do you know what my favorite flower is?

HELEN:

What?

CARMILLA:

The night-blooming Cereus.

HELEN:

I've never seen it.

CARMILLA:

I have. Many times. It blooms in secret, you know. Only at night. And in utter darkness. The flowers open like moons.

HELEN:

Oh, how beautiful. I wish I could see one sometime.

CARMILLA:

You will. We'll go hunting for them some night together. Soon.

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

MUSIC:

FADE IN MELANCHOLY IMPRESSIONIST SOLO PIANO ... "LONGUEURS" ... CONTINUES IN BG

HELEN:

(CALLS) Carmilla? Carmilla? (SURPRISED) Oh, it's you!

CARMILLA:

Yes.

HELEN:

You didn't tell me you played. (PAUSE) What a strange piece that is. What's it called?

CARMILLA:

"Longueurs."

HELEN:

"Longueurs" -- what an odd name. And yet it's somehow appropriate.

CARMILLA:

It's my favorite piece. What does it remind you of?

HELEN:

I don't know.

CARMILLA:

(SLOW, SENSUOUS) It reminds me of moonlight. And a very old stone fountain. It's cool there. It's silvery. It's like the moonlight ---- turned into silver water. I can feel it ---- all over my body. Does the music make you feel that way, too?

HELEN:

Mm. A little. Yes, I - I can almost see it -- the fountain and the moonlight --- when you describe it, Carmilla.

MUSIC:

PIANO FADES OUT

DODGE:

(NARRATES) She was a funny sort of girl, this Carmilla -- romantic, temperamental, full of crazy notions. But, after you were with her for a while, you couldn't help liking her. As the days went by, Carmilla became like a regular member of our little family. And then--

MUSIC:

MELANCHOLY IMPRESSIONIST SOLO PIANO ... "LONGUEURS" ... THEN IN BG

DODGE:

Well, girls, looks like you'll have to give up some of your gallivanting for a while.

HELEN:

Oh, papa, why?

DODGE:

Well, there seems to be some kind of an epidemic going around. Just been reading about it in the newspaper.

HELEN:

What kind of epidemic?

DODGE:

Nobody seems to know. Twelve people have died in the next county.

HELEN:

Goodness. Did you hear that, Carmilla?

CARMILLA:

(OFF) What is it, darling?

HELEN:

Twelve people in the next county have just died of an epidemic.

CARMILLA:

(OFF) Really?

HELEN:

Yes. And Papa wants us to stay home from now on.

CARMILLA:

(OFF) Oh, dear. That would spoil our picnic tomorrow.

DODGE:

You girls planning to go on a picnic tomorrow?

HELEN:

Mm hm.

DODGE:

Maybe that wouldn't do any harm.

HELEN:

Oh, but this is a picnic in the church yard.

DODGE:

The church yard?

HELEN:

Yes. Carmilla's going to show me the funny old tombstones. We're going to go exploring, too. Carmilla says there are a whole lot of the Wood family buried in the church yard. (AMUSED) She wanted to check up to see if any of them were related to her.

MUSIC:

PIANO FADES OUT

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I kept a sharp eye on them from that night on. After all, Dr. Witherspoon, Helen is all I have in the world. As for Carmilla-- Well, I didn't want to answer for anything to that mother of hers. One night at supper, I noticed that Helen was unusually pale.

SOUND:

CLINK OF PLATES AND UTENSILS, BRIEFLY, IN BG

DODGE:

Helen, what's the matter? Aren't you feeling well? You look pale.

HELEN:

Oh, maybe I'm just tired. I - I haven't been getting very much sleep lately. Bad dreams, I guess.

CARMILLA:

I've been having bad dreams, too. I haven't slept a wink for the last three nights.

HELEN:

Have you, Carmilla? You never told me.

CARMILLA:

I didn't want to depress you. (INTENSE) But, every night, I dream that I'm awake. Then suddenly a great black cat jumps over the sill into my room.

HELEN:

(TAKEN ABACK) My goodness!

DODGE:

Well, that doesn't like much to me.

CARMILLA:

Wait a minute. (SLOWLY) The cat begins to pace -- slowly, up and down the room. Up and down. And, as it paces, it grows larger. And larger! Until it's as big as a tiger! Suddenly, it jumps up on my bed!

HELEN:

(STARTLED CRY)

DODGE:

Helen! What's the matter?

HELEN:

(UNNERVED) Well-- Well, nothing. I-- Only I've been dreaming the very same thing myself. Except that the black cat seems to turn into a wolf -- a horrible mangy wolf with long, black pointed fangs!

CARMILLA:

(QUIETLY) Mr. Dodge -- did you ever hear of such a thing?

DODGE:

No, I-- It's mighty funny. I don't like the looks of it at all. Not at all. (FADES OUT)

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... THEN A LOW ROLL OF THUNDER BEHIND--

DODGE:

(NARRATES) And then, Dr. Witherspoon, I consulted a physician about my daughter's health. He said she was only a little anemic. At first, I believed him. But, Dr. Witherspoon, there are things in this world about which the medical profession knows nothing. That night, after everybody had gone to bed, I was awakened by a terrible scream.

HELEN:

(TERRIBLE SCREAM)

DODGE:

(NARRATES, URGENT) It seemed to come from Helen's room. I jumped out of bed and ran down the hall. Mrs. Rudd met me at the stairs.

MRS. RUDD:

Oh, excuse my appearance, Mr. Dodge, but did you hear that scream?

DODGE:

Yes, from Miss Helen's room.

SOUND:

RATTLE OF LOCKED BEDROOM DOOR

DODGE:

Why, the door's locked!

MRS. RUDD:

Oh, yes, sir. Miss Helen always locks her doors at night now.

DODGE:

Good heavens!

SOUND:

RATTLE OF LOCKED BEDROOM DOOR

DODGE:

(CALLS) Helen! Helen, are you all right?! Speak to me! (NO ANSWER, TO MRS. RUDD) She doesn't answer. Knock on Miss Carmilla's door -- we can get in that way.

MRS. RUDD:

Miss Carmilla locks her door, too, sir.

DODGE:

(DISBELIEF) What?!

MRS. RUDD:

The two girls are always thinkin' they'll be murdered, sir.

DODGE:

Good heavens! (CALLS) Helen! (TO MRS. RUDD) Wait a minute. I think I hear somebody in there. Something moving.

SOUND:

SOMETHING MOVING IN BEDROOM

HELEN:

(FROM BEHIND DOOR) Papa? Papa?

DODGE:

Helen! Open the door quickly, dear!

HELEN:

(FROM BEHIND DOOR, GASPS)

SOUND:

DOOR UNLOCKED AND OPENED

DODGE:

Helen! What are you doing on the floor? Good heavens, there's blood over everything!

HELEN:

(IN A STATE OF SHOCK) Carmilla--?

DODGE:

What happened to you, Helen? Why did you scream like that?

HELEN:

I screamed because I - I saw Carmilla covered with blood.

DODGE:

Where?

HELEN:

(INCREASINGLY HYSTERICAL) At the foot of my bed. I - I was a having the dream about the cat again, and I woke up, and there she was standing at the foot of my bed all covered with blood. Didn't you see her run out of the room?

DODGE:

(COMFORTING) No, dear. No, no. You must have dreamed that, too. (TO MRS. RUDD) Uh, Mrs. Rudd, knock on Miss Carmilla's door, will you?

MRS. RUDD:

Yes, sir.

DODGE:

See if she's all right.

HELEN:

(TEARFUL) Oh, papa-- (WEEPS UNCONTROLLABLY, IN BG)

DODGE:

Now, it's all right, dear. It's all right.

SOUND:

KNOCK ON CARMILLA'S DOOR

MRS. RUDD:

Miss Carmilla? Miss Carmilla, are you all right?

DODGE:

(SOOTHING, TO HELEN) Please, dear.

MRS. RUDD:

Miss Carmilla? (TO DODGE) Oh, sir, she doesn't answer. Shall I run downstairs and get my passkey?

DODGE:

All right, Mrs. Rudd -- and hurry!

HELEN:

(THROUGH TEARS) Something's happened to Carmilla!

DODGE:

Now, now, now, take it easy, dear. We'll see about Carmilla in a minute. Now - now, tell me, Helen. Where did all this blood come from?

HELEN:

I don't know. Perhaps from Carmilla. Her house coat was soaked with it. All I know is she's in-- (MORE WEEPING)

DODGE:

Please, Helen, now get hold of yourself, my dear. Stop crying now. You say Carmilla was covered with blood?

HELEN:

Yes.

DODGE:

Oh, but, look, dear. You must have been dreaming. There's no blood on the floor at all.

HELEN:

I tell you, I saw her, papa.

DODGE:

The only blood in this room is on your pillow and your night dress.

MRS. RUDD:

(APPROACHES) I've got the key, sir. But, first, Tony wants to speak to you.

DODGE:

Tony?

MRS. RUDD:

Yes, sir. He says he's just seen Miss Carmilla.

DODGE:

Good heavens.

TONY:

Please, Mis' Dodge, I - I just seen Miss Carmilla five, ten minutes ago walking in the garden.

DODGE:

In the garden?

TONY:

It's true, Mis' Dodge, I - I swear it. Miss Carmilla, she walk-a like that in the garden many times, late at night. (FADES OUT)

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

DODGE:

(NARRATES) We searched for Carmilla all night long. There was no trace of her. Her bed had not been slept in. All the doors leading into her room were locked. The one window looking out over the garden was open, but the drop to the ground below was a good sixty feet.

SOUND:

OMINOUS ROLL OF THUNDER, BRIEFLY IN BG

DODGE:

(NARRATES) Helen was hysterical and, of course, I was just about beside myself, thinking how all this was going to sound to her mother -- when, suddenly, next day, just as I was calling up the local sheriff, I heard Helen's voice calling me from upstairs.

HELEN:

(OFF, HAPPY) Papa! Come up here! Carmilla's back!

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I ran up and, sure enough, there was Carmilla, as fresh as a daisy, sitting on the edge of Helen's bed.

CARMILLA:

Oh, Mr. Dodge, what on earth is all this fuss about?

DODGE:

Carmilla! Where have you been?

CARMILLA:

What is this? I've been in bed.

DODGE:

Oh, no, you haven't.

CARMILLA:

Well, then, something's wrong. As far as I know, I've been sound asleep in there all night long. I just woke up half an hour ago. Got up, took a shower, got dressed, came in here to say good morning to Helen.

DODGE:

If you think you're being funny, I may as well tell you we're in no mood for kidding. Helen has been hysterical all night. Maybe you've got a boyfriend or someone you go down to meet in the village?

CARMILLA:

A boyfriend? (SCOFFS) What an idea!

DODGE:

Well, why not? For what other reason would you sneak out every night?

CARMILLA:

Every night? (BEAT) Who says I sneak out every night?

DODGE:

Tony, the gardener. He says he's seen you plenty of times in the garden or walking down the drive. And, not only that, he told me another thing. He's seen you sneaking back into the house in the morning, too.

CARMILLA:

It's a lie!

HELEN:

(ADMONISHES) Papa!

DODGE:

I don't want to hurt you, Carmilla, but be frank with me. Otherwise, I'll have to take some kind of action.

HELEN:

Papa, please!

DODGE:

I can't have any guest of mine, sneaking and prowling around the house at all hours of the night, Helen. Where did that blood on your dress come from last night? How did Carmilla get out of her room? She hasn't explained one word of this to us! If she won't, why, there's nothing more to do but wire her mother!

HELEN:

(DISTRESSED) Oh, no!

CARMILLA:

I swear to you, Mr. Dodge, I have nothing to tell. Perhaps you were dreaming. Perhaps we were all dreaming, even Tony. I have it! I have the solution!

DODGE:

What is it?

CARMILLA:

I'll bet - I've been walking in my sleep.

HELEN:

Well, of all things, why didn't we think of that?

CARMILLA:

I haven't done it since I was a child. But it used to be a great habit with me. They used to say I had an uncanny sense of places -- I could find my way through locked doors.

HELEN:

Oh, of course! See, papa? How simple. (FADES OUT)

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I wasn't satisfied with the whole business. Too many things just didn't seem to click -- the blood on Helen's pillow, the locked doors, the sixty-foot jump. I still thought Carmilla was holding out on me. There seemed only one thing to do.

SOUND:

PHONE RECEIVER UP ... ROTARY DIAL

DODGE:

Hello, Long Distance. Er, will you connect me with Quebec, please? Quebec, Canada. I'd like to speak to a Mrs. C. Wood, Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges, Quebec, Canada. I don't know the number.

1ST OPERATOR:

(FILTER) You are calling C. Wood, Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges, Quebec, Canada.

DODGE:

Yes, that's right.

SOUND:

OPERATOR RINGS QUEBEC .. QUEBEC PICKS UP

1ST OPERATOR:

(FILTER) New York calling Quebec, Canada.

2ND OPERATOR:

(FILTER) This is Quebec.

1ST OPERATOR:

(FILTER) Will you connect me with a Mrs. C. Wood, Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges, Quebec, Canada.

2ND OPERATOR:

(FILTER) Just one moment, please. (PAUSE) I beg your pardon, but there is no C. Wood listed at Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges.

1ST OPERATOR:

(FILTER) Thank you.

2ND OPERATOR:

(FILTER) Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges is a cemetery.

SOUND:

PHONE RECEIVER DOWN HARD ... FOR PUNCTUATION

DODGE:

(NARRATES) When I hung up that receiver, my knees were trembling. I didn't know what to think. But I had my suspicions -- plenty of them.

MUSIC:

MELANCHOLY IMPRESSIONIST SOLO PIANO ... "LONGUEURS" ... THEN IN BG

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I walked into the living room. It was late afternoon. Carmilla was playing the piano. (CALLS) Carmilla?!

MUSIC:

PIANO ABRUPTLY OUT WITH--

CARMILLA:

(MILD SURPRISE) Oh.

DODGE:

Carmilla, when did you last hear from your mother?

CARMILLA:

(SLOWLY) Mama? Mmm, let's see. Today is Friday. Thursday, Wednesday--

DODGE:

Tell me the truth! You haven't heard from her at all!

CARMILLA:

(BEAT) I guess not.

DODGE:

Isn't that rather strange?

CARMILLA:

Not particularly. Mama's always been lazy about writing. She's like me.

DODGE:

But you were ill when she left. Wouldn't she want to know whether you had recovered?

CARMILLA:

Oh, she knows I'm all right. Helen and I sent her a telegram.

DODGE:

To what address?

CARMILLA:

Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges, Quebec, Canada.

DODGE:

It hasn't been returned?

CARMILLA:

Of course not. That's mama's permanent address.

DODGE:

Carmilla, you're lying to me! Twelve Eleven Rue des Anges is a cemetery.

CARMILLA:

Cemetery?

DODGE:

Yes! Don't pretend you know nothing about it, because you do! You and your mother are a fine team all right -- a fine team!

CARMILLA:

I don't know what you're talking about.

DODGE:

Thought you could fool me with that phony accident, didn't you? Thought you could worm my business secrets out of me by striking up a friendship with Helen. Well, it was a smart idea, but it didn't work out, see?

CARMILLA:

(OFFENDED) I've never heard of anything like this in my life.

DODGE:

Oh, you haven't, eh?

CARMILLA:

Mr. Dodge, if you think I came here after your money, you're vastly mistaken.

DODGE:

Then explain what you were doing prowling around the house last night.

CARMILLA:

I've already told you! I was walking in my sleep!

DODGE:

What were you doing in my daughter's room?

CARMILLA:

I wasn't in her room. She was dreaming.

DODGE:

What were those blood stains on her dress?

CARMILLA:

(BEAT, EVASIVE) I know nothing of blood stains. I tell you, I - I haven't the faintest idea.

DODGE:

I have a good mind to turn you over to the police, young lady, but I won't -- for Helen's sake -- provided you leave this house at once! (CALLS) Mrs. Rudd?!

CARMILLA:

But where shall I go? I know no one; I haven't any money.

MRS. RUDD:

Yes, sir?

DODGE:

Start packing Miss Carmilla's things at once.

MRS. RUDD:

Yes, sir. (STARTLED, QUICKLY) Oh! Be careful! She's got the letter opener in her hand!

DODGE:

(WITH EFFORT, GRABBING CARMILLA'S ARM) You--!

CARMILLA:

(SHRIEKS IN PAIN)

DODGE:

(BEAT) You little fool. Queered yourself that time.

HELEN:

(APPROACHES) Papa? What's happened? Who screamed like that?

CARMILLA:

Oh, Helen! Helen, darling! Your father's going to send me away. (WEEPS, IN BG)

HELEN:

Papa, what for?

DODGE:

I--

HELEN:

Oh, Papa, how could you be so unkind? Why, Carmilla's my dearest friend.

CARMILLA:

(TEARFUL) He - he says I've - I've lied to both of you. That I - I came here to spy on you, and rob you.

HELEN:

(DISBELIEF) Papa! How could you ever think of such a thing?

DODGE:

I'm sorry, Helen, but this is my affair. And I have every good reason to think that Carmilla is not a real friend.

HELEN:

But she's done noth-- (FALTERS) Nothing. I-- Oh, I feel so weak.

DODGE:

Helen? (NO ANSWER) Helen?

SOUND:

HELEN COLLAPSES TO THE FLOOR

CARMILLA:

(ALMOST PLEASED) She's - fainted.

SOUND:

LONG, LOW RUMBLE OF THUNDER ... FOR PUNCTUATION

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I carried Helen upstairs and called Dr. Bradley. He worked over her for two hours. But he couldn't even bring her back to her senses. She lay all that afternoon and evening in a deep coma. She didn't move. Scarcely seemed to breathe.

MUSIC:

SOLO PIANO SNEAKS IN ... "LONGUEURS" ... CONTINUES IN BG

DODGE:

(NARRATES) Downstairs in the living room, Carmilla was playing her everlasting tune. It seemed to mock us. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. I stood up to call Mrs. Rudd when-- Suddenly, I saw the door to Carmilla's room open very slowly--

SOUND:

DOOR CREAKS SLOWLY OPEN

DODGE:

(NARRATES) She came into Helen's room. She didn't speak to me.

CARMILLA:

(LAUGHS EERILY)

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I heard her laugh. (SURPRISED, TO CARMILLA) Carmilla?

CARMILLA:

(MILD SURPRISE) Oh. (LAUGHS, INSOLENT) Good evening, Mr. Dodge. Surprised to see me?

DODGE:

(NARRATES, PUZZLED) I - I thought you were playing the piano.

CARMILLA:

(CHUCKLES) I am. (DEADLY SERIOUS) You thought you could keep me out of here, didn't you? You thought Helen would let me be sent away. Do you think walls or doors or locks would keep me away from Helen? No, Mr. Dodge -- she's mine. Do you hear that? Mine. (LOVINGLY) Ohhh, see how beautifully she sleeps? She's happy now. Do you know what she's dreaming of, Mr. Dodge? I do. She's dreaming - about a fountain -- an old stone fountain in the moonlight--

DODGE:

(SAVAGE) Get out of here!

CARMILLA:

But soon she'll dream of a cat. A great black cat! Who jumps over her window sill! (SCREECHES LIKE A CAT)

DODGE:

Keep away from that bed!

CARMILLA:

(LAUGHS MANIACALLY)

SOUND:

CLAP OF THUNDER!

DODGE:

(NARRATES) With one leap, she jumped on Helen's bed! I saw her teeth bared, like fangs -- like the pointed fangs of a wolf! And then suddenly the room went dark. I - I could hear Helen struggling on the bed and then -- one agonizing scream!

HELEN:

(AGONIZING SCREAM)

DODGE:

(NARRATES) I groped my way toward the bed; I could see nothing of it but a great black mass that swelled and swelled until it covered the bed like a cloud! I struck at it with my fists!

CARMILLA:

(LAUGHS MANIACALLY)

DODGE:

(NARRATES) But I could only hear Carmilla laughing at me!

MUSIC:

PIANO OUT WITH--

SOUND:

DEAFENING CLAP OF THUNDER! ... FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN SILENCE

DODGE:

This happened last night, Dr. Witherspoon. Since then, I - I've been almost crazy. I know everything now. I know that my daughter has only one chance to live.

WITHERSPOON:

And that is?

DODGE:

That is if we destroy this monster who is draining her strength! This - this incubus! This - this vampire!

WITHERSPOON:

Vampire? Oh, vampires are mythical. They're like witches or ghosts. Mr. Dodge, you're sure that all this hasn't been brought on somewhat by your own state of mind?

DODGE:

My own state of mind? Good heavens, what are you insinuating, Dr. Witherspoon?

WITHERSPOON:

Your daughter's dreadful illness. The shock, perhaps.

DODGE:

Dr. Witherspoon, I have called you in to help me. I have given you all the evidence. There is no time to waste. Now, tell me -- from your antiquarian studies of the old Puritan families, what do you know about a family named Wood?

WITHERSPOON:

Wood?

DODGE:

I have an old portrait here my daughter picked up at a village auction just before the epidemic. It's supposed to be a picture of one of the Wood family -- a Mircalla Wood. Helen bought it because she thought it was the image of Carmilla. Here it is.

WITHERSPOON:

(CASUAL) Oh, yes, yes. Seventeenth century. Most attractive.

DODGE:

(POINTED) Who is this Mircalla Wood? Do you know anything about her?

WITHERSPOON:

Uh, nothing very important.

DODGE:

(INSISTENT) What is it?

WITHERSPOON:

She was hanged on the village gallows -- as a witch.

DODGE:

(STUNNED, WHISPERS) A witch! (BEAT, INTENSE) Dr. Witherspoon, take me to her grave!

SOUND:

ROLL OF THUNDER! ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... LIGHT RAIN FALLS, THEN IN BG

WITHERSPOON:

This is the old Wood plot. It hasn't been used for more than a century. Oh, dear me, the grass is so very wet.

SOUND:

CHURCH BELL TOLLS SIX O'CLOCK BEHIND--

WITHERSPOON:

Now, let me see. (READS) "Josiah Wood. Adrian Wood. Sarah Wood. Rachel Wood, beloved wife of--" Oh, here it is. (READS) "Mircalla Wood. Born Sixteen Nineteen, died Sixteen Thirty-Eight." There's an epitaph here, too, but I - I can't read it.

DODGE:

It's Carmilla.

WITHERSPOON:

Carmilla? My dear sir, this poor creature has been dead for over three hundred years!

DODGE:

You heard me. Didn't the book say that they can live forever as long as they have the blood of living things? (TO HIMSELF) Carmilla, Mircalla. (REALIZES) Carmilla! The same letters! It's the same name twisted around!

WITHERSPOON:

My dear Mr. Dodge, calm yourself. Here, come back into the car.

DODGE:

No, no! (CALLS) Tony? Hand me that shovel!

TONY:

Yes, Mis' Dodge.

WITHERSPOON:

Mr. Dodge, what are you going to do?

DODGE:

I'm going to dig her out of there! I'm going to destroy her once and for all!

SOUND:

DODGE AND TONY START TO SHOVEL ... THEN IN BG

WITHERSPOON:

You have no proof that the body of this poor witch is the same as this Carmilla! You have no proof that this friend of your daughter's even is a vampire!

DODGE:

Don't stop, Tony! Keep on digging!

TONY:

Yes, Mis' Dodge.

WITHERSPOON:

Are you mad, sir?! Vampires don't exist! They're creatures of the imagination! (NO RESPONSE) This is sacrilege, Mr. Dodge! I shall have to report you to the police!

SOUND:

SHOVELING CONTINUES FOR A MOMENT ... THEN FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... THEN FADE IN SHOVELS HITTING WOOD COFFIN AS CHURCH BELL TOLLS SEVEN O'CLOCK BEHIND--

TONY:

I struck the coffin, Mis' Dodge.

DODGE:

Thank heaven! It's getting dark. It'll be night in a few minutes. Here, give me that rope.

TONY:

Where are you going, Mis' Dodge?

DODGE:

Into the grave. Have to haul it up out of the hole.

TONY:

That rope's not strong enough, Mis' Dodge. I'm afraid that she'd break.

DODGE:

Then I'll smash in the lid down there! Hand me the hammer -- and the stake!

TONY:

All right, sir.

SOUND:

POLICE SIREN APPROACHES

DODGE:

What's that?

TONY:

Huh?

SOUND:

SIREN OUT AS POLICE CAR NEARS AND SCREECHES TO A STOP

DODGE:

Police! Quick, the hammer!

TONY:

Yes, sir.

SOUND:

DODGE HAMMERS ON COFFIN LID ... CONTINUES IN BG

DODGE:

[Curse?] the witch! Tougher than I thought. (TO TONY) Here, come down here!

TONY:

All right, Mis' Dodge.

DODGE:

Take a shovel and beat in that end while I smash open this one!

TONY:

All right, sir.

SHERIFF:

(APPROACHES) Stop that! In the name of the law!

SOUND:

POUNDING ON COFFIN STOPS

SHERIFF:

What do you two fellas think you're doin' there?!

DODGE:

Please, sheriff, I can explain everything! Just give me one minute more!

SHERIFF:

Get down there, men! Take that hammer and shovel away from 'em!

DEPUTY:

All right.

DODGE:

No, you--! (IN PAIN) Oh my arm!

SHERIFF:

Grave robbin', eh?

DODGE:

You don't know what you're doing!

SHERIFF:

You don't know what you're doin'. Anyway, that's what Dr. Witherspoon says. Okay, boys. Take 'em back to the court house.

DODGE:

This is a matter of life or death, I warn you! There's a vampire lying in that coffin! A vampire!

SHERIFF:

Listen to him, boys.

DODGE:

Do you want to know who's been causing all those deaths in the village?! That body lying there! It's been killing all your people, one by one! Living on their blood!

DEPUTY:

Aw, he's cracked.

DODGE:

Let me open the lid! I'll prove it to you! You see that tombstone? It says Mircalla Wood, died Sixteen Thirty-Eight. Died! Sixteen Thirty-Eight! Three hundred years ago! That coffin should contain a handful of dust! I'll show you that it contains a body as fresh as any of us! A young girl with red hair--!

SHERIFF:

Take 'em to the court house, boys. We ain't got no more time to waste.

DODGE:

For the last time, sheriff, before it's too late--!

CARMILLA:

(OFF, LAUGHS EERILY, THEN IN BG)

DODGE:

Listen. Do you hear it? That's it. She's coming to, herself -- out of the coffin there. Stop her! Stop her before it's too late! Give me the stake! The stake!

CARMILLA:

(LAUGHS LOUDER)

SHERIFF:

(BEAT) I don't hear nothin'. Come on.

CARMILLA:

(LAUGHTER FADES OUT BEHIND--)

SOUND:

LOW RUMBLE OF THUNDER ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

MRS. RUDD:

Oh, Mr. Dodge, sir, I - I thought you'd never come back.

DODGE:

How's Helen?

MRS. RUDD:

You must be brave, sir. She's - gone.

DODGE:

(EXHALES)

MRS. RUDD:

She passed away just about a half hour ago -- while Miss Carmilla was playing the piano downstairs.

DODGE:

Miss Carmilla?!

MRS. RUDD:

Yes, sir. She came in about an hour ago and began to play. Miss Helen heard her from her room. It seemed to soothe her. And she smiled at me. "Carmilla's come back," she said. "She's so [?]. Tell her to come upstairs." But before I could go downstairs to get Miss Carmilla, she passed away.

DODGE:

(BREAKS INTO TEARS) Oh, God! Oh, my God!

MRS. RUDD:

And now, if you'll excuse me, sir, I'll - I'll just go in and tell Miss Carmilla now.

DODGE:

(SOBS)

MRS. RUDD:

Someone ought to tell her before very long. She loves Miss Helen so much.

MUSIC:

SOLO PIANO ... "LONGUEURS" ... THEN JOINED BY--

SOUND:

LOW RUMBLE OF THUNDER ... WHICH FADES OUT WITH MUSIC ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

You have heard the Columbia Workshop's presentation of "Carmilla," a story by Sheridan Le Fanu, adapted for radio by Lucille Fletcher. The entire production was under the direction of Earle McGill. The part of Mr. Dodge was played by Bill Johnstone; Carmilla, by Jeanette Nolan; Helen, by Joan Tetzel. Other members of the cast were Effie Palmer, Maurice Franklin, Peter Capell, Gladys Thornton, Tom Tully, Jean Colbert and Neill O'Malley.

Next week, the Workshop presents a radio production of two poems of America today, the work of two of our best-known contemporary poets looking at our country at this moment in our history. The poems are a verse sequence by E. B. White and "Nightmare at Noon" by Stephen Vincent Benet.

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.