The House of Purple Shadows

ANNOUNCER: The Mummers in "The Little Theater of The Air."

SOUND: DOG HOWLS TWICE ... WIND BLOWS ... DOGS HOWL

HERMIT: (CACKLING LAUGHTER) Ghoooossst stories. Weirrrrrd stories. And 
murders, too! (CACKLES) The Hermit knows of them all. Turn out your lights. 
Turn them out! Ahhhh. Have you heard the story ... "The House of Purple 
Shadows" -- hm? Then listen while the Hermit tells you the story. (CACKLES)

SOUND: FADES OUT

BENSON: Yesterday, we weren't so alarmed. When he didn't come to the office 
this morning, why, then we concluded something must be wrong.

LAMONT: If he's here in the house, we'll find out in a minute, Benson.

BENSON: Yes.

SOUND: DOOR UNLOCKS AND OPENS ... THE MEN ENTER ... FOOTSTEPS ... DOOR SHUTS

BENSON: Mm, it's dark in this hallway, Mr. Lamont.

LAMONT: Must be a light switch here somewhere. Ah, yes, here it is.

SOUND: SWITCH CLICKS

BENSON: Ah, there. That's better.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS UNDER, IN AGREEMENT WITH DIALOGUE

LAMONT: He hasn't been sleeping here at his house for over a year.

BENSON: No. They said at the club that he wasn't there yesterday. Hadn't slept 
in his room there last night.

LAMONT: In that case, he may be here.

BENSON: That's what I'm afraid of. Maybe he had a stroke or something and 
wasn't able to get to a phone.

LAMONT: We'll look upstairs first.

BENSON: Yes, I think we'd better.

LAMONT: Ah, here's the stairway. It's queer, isn't it? If he came here in the 
evening, wouldn't he have left some lights on?

BENSON: That's what I was thinking.

LAMONT: Ah.

BENSON: It's gloomy in this house. No wonder he shut it all up and went to 
live at the club after his wife died.

LAMONT: Mr. Davidson has always been a peculiar man. I haven't been his 
attorney as long as I have without realizing that. 

BENSON: Mm. Do you know which bedroom is his?

LAMONT: Yes, I think this one. At least, we'll try this room first. 

BENSON: Yes.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT ... RATTLE OF DOORKNOB

BENSON: Is it locked?

LAMONT: (WITH EFFORT, TRYING THE DOOR) Mm, it just seems to stick. Must be the 
door has swelled. (GRUNTS)

BENSON: Let me try it, Mr. Lamont.

LAMONT: (STRUGGLES) Ah, I'm getting it now. Here it comes.

SOUND: DOOR OPENS

BENSON: Gee whiz.

LAMONT: What's the matter, Benson?

BENSON: I don't know but - when you opened the door it was as if something 
grabbed a hold of my hand.

LAMONT: What?

BENSON: I know it sounds queer but it was as if an icicle touched me.

LAMONT: Why, it's just the cold air rushing out of this room. It's as black as 
night in here. Curtains and drapes are heavily drawn. 

BENSON: Yes.

SOUNDS: FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT

LAMONT: Now, if I can find a light in here--

BENSON: Oh, here it is, Mr. Lamont.

SOUND: SWITCH CLICKS

LAMONT: Ah. He's not in here.

BENSON: No. Not here. Maybe this isn't his room.

LAMONT: If he's going to stay in the house, he'd sleep in here.

BENSON: This room hasn't been touched for a long time, has it?

LAMONT: I guess not.

BENSON: Mr. Lamont, isn't it queer that this room should be so cold?

LAMONT: Why, no. There's nothing strange about that. A room that's all closed 
up gets damp and cold.

BENSON: I have a feeling that it's going to start snowing in here any minute. 
This cold air -- brr! -- seems to freeze your very blood.

LAMONT: Mr. Benson, I don't think your employer stayed in this house night 
before last. I don't think anyone's been in this house for a long time.

BENSON: Well, then, where is he?

LAMONT: I don't know. We'll look in the other rooms up here. Turn off this 
light.

SOUND: SWITCH CLICKS

BENSON: Should we close the door?

LAMONT: Yes. Leave everything just as we found it.

SOUND: DOOR SHUTS ... FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT

LAMONT: If he finds out that we've been snooping around up here, he may not 
like it. He's very peculiar.

BENSON: I know but certainly he'd want us to hunt for him if he thought we 
were worried. If we thought he was lying up here dead.

LAMONT: He doesn't like people prying into his affairs.

BENSON: Well, that's true.

LAMONT: Here. We'll look in this upstairs library. If he's not in there, well, 
then -- means he's not here in the house.

BENSON: Yes.

SOUND: INHUMAN MOAN, OFF ... FOOTSTEPS STOP

BENSON: (GASPS) What was that?

LAMONT: Sounded like a moan.

BENSON: Yes, it did. (CALLS OUT) Mr. Davidson! Where are you?! Mr. Davidson! 

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT

LAMONT: Mr. Davidson! Where are you?! ... Well, he's not here in the library.

BENSON: No. It sounded as if it came from downstairs.

LAMONT: Yes, I guess it did. Hurry, let's get down there.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS DOWN STAIRS

BENSON: Yes. (CALLS OUT) Mr. Davidson! Where are you?!

LAMONT: (AFTER REACHING BOTTOM OF STAIRS) He's not here in the living room.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT

BENSON: No. But we heard a moan - from somewhere.

LAMONT: Sounded like it.

BENSON: Mr. Lamont. Look. Look, do you see? See what I'm pointing at?

LAMONT: Where?

BENSON: That book on the table. It moved! It - it moved all by itself.

LAMONT: What?

BENSON: It did. I saw it. I - I saw it. It moved from one side of the table to 
the other. 

LAMONT: Nonsense. That's impossible.

BENSON: My eyes aren't playing me tricks that badly. I saw it move. Come over 
here. 

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS TO DESK

BENSON: Look. You see - where it's been lying? 

LAMONT: Imprint in the dust.

BENSON: Yes. Now - it's over here.

LAMONT: Wait a minute. This is getting a little too deep for me.

BENSON: (STARTS)

LAMONT: Benson, what's the matter now?

BENSON: I felt that touch on my hand again. I did!

LAMONT: If there is something queer going on in here-- Look! Look over there 
at the window. You see that?

BENSON: Yes. 

LAMONT: It's like someone was touching those drapes and making them move.

BENSON: Yes. Mr. Lamont, let's get out of here. Let's get out! Hurry!

LAMONT: Right!

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS AS THEY RUN OUT OF THE HOUSE ... DOOR SHUTS ... SLIGHT PAUSE

DAVIDSON: They couldn't see me. 

They couldn't hear my voice.

Isn't there anyone who can hear me speak?!

Oh, if you knew how badly I needed help. How hard I tried to make them hear 
me. You people who are of the world and know it.

You who can step to the mirror, look in it and see your face and body 
reflected there. Oh, how thankful you should be.

Just a few moments ago, I managed to propel myself to the mirror in the hall. 
I looked into it. I stood directly in front of it.

There was nothing there.

I have no face! No body! No arms, no hands!

And yet - and yet a sound came from whatever it is that I am. Like a moan. My 
lawyer, Mr. Lamont, and my bookkeeper, Mr. Benson, came rushing down the 
stairs. I could see them. But, great Heaven, they couldn't see me! I called 
out:

Help me!

Help meeee!

But they went out the door, slammed it shut, left me here alone.

Oh, doomed. To what?

Isn't there anyone who can tell me what's happened to me?! 

Two days ago -- yes, I can still reckon days -- I left the office and went to 
the club. It was about an hour before dinner. I sat reading the paper. 
Suddenly, all the letters began to jump and dance before my eyes. And I 
distinctly heard something whispering in my ears.

VOICE: (WHISPERS) Go to your house. ... Go to your house.

DAVIDSON: I threw down the paper.

SOUND: PAPER THROWN DOWN

DAVIDSON: No one seemed to be watching me.

I was so frightened, I felt I must be ill. But I couldn't tell anyone in the 
club.

SOUND: BUZZING

DAVIDSON: There was a buzzing in my ears.

And I could hear that voice saying:

VOICE: (WHISPERS) Go to your house. ... Go to your house.

SOUND: BUZZING OUT 

DAVIDSON: I walked out the door, down the street.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS

DAVIDSON: Some power seemed to be forcing me to go.

I walked fast.

I approached my house. I haven't lived in it since my wife died.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT

DAVIDSON: I looked up at it. It seemed to be weaving back and forth. Black 
clouds hung over it. 

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS UP STEPS

DAVIDSON: I walked up the steps.

I reached the outside door.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT

DAVIDSON: Mechanically, I took the key from my pocket, inserted it in the 
lock...

SOUND: KEY IN LOCK 

DAVIDSON: ... opened the door.

SOUND: DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS IN, DOOR SHUTS

DAVIDSON: I stood inside.

SOUND: A TENTATIVE FOOTSTEP OR TWO, THEN OUT

DAVIDSON: Now -- why was I here? Why'd I come to the house? 

I didn't know. 

I walked into the living room.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS ... WIND BLOWS HARSHLY UNDER FOLLOWING

DAVIDSON: Suddenly, I felt a great rush of cold wind.

It engulfed me, whirled 'round me, seemed to be wrapping itself about me.

Help! Help! [?] Help! Help! My body - it's freezing! My blood has turned to 
ice! Help! Help! Help! I can't move! 

I - can't - moooove!

SOUND: WIND FADES AWAY UNDER FOLLOWING

DAVIDSON: I couldn't move. The room seemed to be bathed in a purple twilight. 
It was then that I realized that I no longer had a physical body. I seemed to 
see everything in the room but myself.

Look down at your hand and arm. Realize what it would mean to have the feeling 
of it - but not be able to see it. Can you imagine such torture?

I can make things move. But I can't see the hand that moves them.

Oh, horrible, terrible calamity that has befallen me! How long am I going to 
go on like this?! What sort of a world am I living in -- in the purple shadows 
between this and the next?!

Someone have mercy on me.

SOUND: WIND BUILDS IN BG

DAVIDSON: Help me! Great Heavens! Someone help me! (FADES)

SOUND: WIND TOPS HIM, HOWLS LOUDLY FOR AN ACCENT, THEN FADES AWAY

LAMONT: (QUIET, CALM) Mr. Benson?

BENSON: (MATCHING HIM) Yes, Mr. Lamont?

LAMONT: Before we go into the next room to talk to Mr. Davidson's niece, I - I 
think there are a few things we should settle between us. 

BENSON: Yes, sir.

LAMONT: Yesterday ended a year since the disappearance of Mr. Davidson. 
There's no doubt about it. He's dead.

BENSON: He must be, sir.

LAMONT: If he was kidnapped, which I'm inclined to think happened, the 
kidnappers must have gotten frightened and killed him. 

BENSON: There were no ransom notes received.

LAMONT: No, because they became frightened after they killed him. 

BENSON: But his body?

LAMONT: Don't know what they did with it. It's possible that though we dragged 
the river it's still there. We've gone all over that before. That isn't what I 
want to talk to you about. It's - it's his house.

BENSON: Yes.

LAMONT: Police have been through it dozens of times since the day last year 
when you and I went through it. 

BENSON: I know they have.

LAMONT: If they saw or heard anything peculiar, they failed to mention it, so 
far as you and I are concerned.

BENSON: I've never mentioned what happened to a soul.

LAMONT: Nor I. Been so long now, I - I wonder if it could have been true.

BENSON: I often think the same thing.

LAMONT: According to Mr. Davidson's will, the house and part of his estate is 
to be deeded to his niece, Loretta Hathaway. She and her husband are in the 
next room. I think it best, Mr. Benson, that we never tell her what occurred 
to us that day.

BENSON: I agree.

LAMONT: She and her husband are not wealthy. The money and the house would be 
very welcome to them. We shouldn't spoil it for her.

BENSON: No. 

LAMONT: All right. We'll go inside now and read the will to them. Mr. Hathaway 
will take over Mr. Davidson's business. Think you'll find him a nice man to 
work for. Come, let's go inside. (MOVING OFF)

BENSON: Yes, sir. (FADES)

LORETTA: Dan, do you think you're going to like it here in this house?

DAN: It almost seems to be too grand for us.

LORETTA: I know it. Weren't you surprised to find out that Uncle Jim had 
willed us so much? Business, half his money, and this house?

DAN: Well, rather. But then of course there was no one else for him to leave 
it to.

LORETTA: I know. Dan, have you ever thought he might have committed suicide?

DAN: (SURPRISED) No. I never thought that.

LORETTA: Mother said he wasn't always as peculiar as he was during his last 
years.

DAN: What do you mean?

LORETTA: Well, I remember her saying that after he built this house and he and 
Aunt Mary moved into it, that he began to change.

DAN: You know, there's something about this place that would make anybody 
change. 

LORETTA: Now what do you mean?

DAN: What I mean, Loretta, is that-- Ah, it's so blamed cold in here. 

LORETTA: The house has been shut up for over three years, Dan.

DAN: I know but it's warm outside. This house is like an icebox and we've had 
the windows open all day.

LORETTA: It'll get thawed out in a few days.

DAN: Mm, I hope so.

LORETTA: I suppose we better retire. You take charge of the office tomorrow, 
don't you?

DAN: Yes. 

LORETTA: Poor Uncle Jim. I still keep thinking that he may have committed 
suicide. I've often wondered if they went through his desk and things to see 
if he left any notes.

DAN: Oh, yes. They've gone through his things dozens of times.

LORETTA: Dan?

DAN: Yes?

LORETTA: It was three years ago that Aunt Mary died, wasn't it?

DAN: Oh, about that.

LORETTA: She took an overdose of sleeping powder by mistake. Then, six months 
after that, mother died. Then Uncle Jim disappeared. A lot of tragedy in one 
family in a few years, isn't it?

DAN: I wouldn't dwell on that, Loretta.

SOUND: HER FOOTSTEPS TO DESK, DRAWER OPENS, PAPERS SHUFFLE

DAN: What are you doing?

LORETTA: (OFF) I just thought I'd go through his desk to see if I could find 
anything that no one else has discovered.

DAN: I wouldn't look through those things tonight. Let's go upstairs.

LORETTA: (OFF) I will in a minute.

SOUND: SHUFFLES PAPERS

LORETTA: (OFF) Dan! Dan, come here.

DAN: What is it?

LORETTA: (CLOSER) Look at this. 

SOUND: RATTLES A SHEET OF PAPER 

LORETTA: Look at this writing.

DAN: Well? What is it?

LORETTA: That's what I'm asking you. 

DAN: Just - purple marks on a piece of paper.

LORETTA: I know - but what peculiar marks. Like they were made with a 
fingernail and written in some foreign language. What do you suppose it is?

DAN: I haven't any idea. It's probably been there for ages. If it had any 
significance, the police would have used it.

LORETTA: I know - but it's lying right here on top of all these papers - as if 
it had been dropped here just recently. Dan, feel that paper. It's ice cold.

DAN: Yes, it's like everything else in this house. Now, come on, you can 
rummage through that desk tomorrow. (MOVING OFF) I'm going upstairs. Do you 
realize it's nearly midnight?

LORETTA: Dan! Dan!

DAN: (RETURNS) For Heaven's sakes, what is it?

LORETTA: Look! Look! See that window blind? Look at it.

SOUND: WINDOW BLIND MOVES SLOWLY UP AND DOWN

DAN: Why - why, it's moving.

LORETTA: Yes. Look. Look at it. It's moving up and down all by itself.

SOUND: WINDOW BLIND SUDDENLY ROLLS UP WITH A LOUD SNAP

DAN: Oh, I - I see what it is, Loretta. There's something the matter with the 
roller. You've seen that happen to window curtains before. They fly way up to 
the top or way down to the bottom of the window when the roller's broken.

LORETTA: But, Dan, it - it was just as if some unseen hand moved that window 
curtain. That's what it was like. Some unseen hand moved that curtain!

SOUND: WIND BLOWS AND DOGS HOWL ... AND WE ARE BACK WITH THE HERMIT

HERMIT: (CACKLING LAUGHTER FADES IN) Loretta and Dan see strange things, too! 
(CACKLES) Can it be that Davidson is still trying to make himself known to the 
people in his house? The Hermit will tell you before the night is done! 
(CACKLES)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now, the Hermit again.

SOUND: WIND BLOWS ... DOGS HOWL ... IN BG

HERMIT: (CACKLING LAUGHTER) Midnight in the house! Loretta and Dan are 
sleeping but not-- Well, listen. (CACKLES)

SOUND: FADES OUT

DAVIDSON: No. I am not sleeping.

I never sleep.

You know that I've been wandering in this, my house, for over a year. Living 
in hideous torture. 

How I've tried to make someone understand. But it's useless. They only grow 
frightened, as Loretta did earlier this evening. 

But she didn't get frightened enough, no. 

I'll tell you why. What I've discovered in these long, endless hours that I've 
spent here.

There's something strange about this place. Something horrible.

SOUND: HOWLING WIND FADES IN

DAVIDSON: You hear the wind? 

It's beginning again. 

About midnight every night, it springs up.

There's a queer purple glow over everything. And the cold sears me all through 
again, penetrating to my very marrow.

I know. I have no form that you can see. Or I can see. But I can feel pain 
just the same. Such pain as you never dreamed of in your normal world. 

SOUND: WIND FADES OUT

DAVIDSON: Loretta and Dan will suffer the same transformation as I have if 
they don't get out of this house.

I've been convinced for a long time now that it must have been true that my 
wife Mary realized there was something wrong in this house. That's why she 
took the sleeping powders that night. 

She took her own life through fear.

But why didn't she warn me - so that I could die? For, as it is now, I may go 
on suffering like this for ages and centuries. 

There may be thousands of houses all over the world that are under a spell 
like this one is.

There must be other people living in this strange world like I am! 
 
SOUND: WIND FADES IN

DAVIDSON: Here it comes again. This wind that lives in this world of purple 
shadows.

Have to warn Loretta and Dan. I've got to get them out of the house. I must 
propel myself up the stairs and open the door to their room.

(WITH EFFORT) I'm - climbing the stairs now. I can see in the night, can see 
everything but myself. I think - my hand is touching the bannister.

Now, I'm at the top of the stairs. Must open the door to their room. 

Oh, that wind! It's making me suffer such pain! (GASPS) I must warn them.

SOUND: WIND DIES OUT ... DOOR SLOWLY CREAKS OPEN

DAVIDSON: (WHISPERS) Loretta! ... Loretta!

She doesn't hear me.

(WHISPERS) Loretta, you must get out of here! ... Loretta!

LORETTA: (MOANS IN HER SLEEP)

DAVIDSON: She's turning in her sleep.

SOUND: (THE WIND RETURNS)

LORETTA: (SLEEPILY) What is it? ... Dan? Dan! Wake up! Wake up!

DAN: (SLOWLY AWAKES) What?

LORETTA: Wake up, Dan!

DAN: What'd you say?

LORETTA: Wake up! Look. There's a strange light in this room. And where's the 
wind coming from?

DAVIDSON: (WHISPERS) Loretta! Get out! Get out of this house! It's going to be 
too late.

DAN: There IS a strange light in here. Turn up the night lamp.

LORETTA: It - doesn't seem to make any difference. The light is getting 
stronger and stronger. And the wind, it - it's freezing me. Freezing my blood.

DAN: Loretta, I feel it, too. Let's get out of this room.

LORETTA: Help! I - I can't move! I can't move!

DAN: Loretta! I can't move, either! I - I'm froze!

LORETTA: Help! Someone help us! Help! I can feel my whole body changing!

DAN: Loretta! What's happening to us?

LORETTA: Dan! Help me!

SOUND: CRASH OF GLASS

DAN: I - I reached out for you and knocked over the lamp. Loretta! I can't see 
my hand anymore. I can't see my arms or my legs.

LORETTA: Look! Look! Standing in this room! It - it - it's Uncle Jim!

DAN: Jim Davidson.

DAVIDSON: Yes. You see me now. For you're changed, the same as I am.

SOUND: THE WIND FADES OUT

DAN: What's happened to us?

DAVIDSON: We've entered a strange world. It's this house. It's under some 
horrible spell. I've been in these shadows since the day I disappeared.

LORETTA: Uncle Jim - is there nothing we can do? Nothing?

SOUND: CRACKLE OF FLAMES ... BUILDS IN BG

DAVIDSON: There's our only hope. See? You knocked over that lamp, Dan. This 
room will soon be all afire.

DAN: Yes. 

DAVIDSON: Let it burn. It may burn down the house and give us the freedom of 
death. It's our only hope, our only salvation. Death! Give us freedom! Let us 
get out of this torture! Have mercy! Save us! Have mercy! Save us!

SOUND: VOLUME OF FLAMES INCREASES DURING ABOVE, TOPS HIM, HOUSE BURNS LOUDLY 
FOR AN ACCENT, THEN SLOWLY FADES AWAY ... SILENCE

BENSON: What's the news, Mr. Lamont? Did they find the bodies?

LAMONT: They've gone through the charred wreck of that house for hours. 
There's no trace of a body there.

BENSON: Do you think they got out before the house burned? Then, where are 
they?

LAMONT: Benson, I don't think they got out.

BENSON: But they didn't find their bodies, Mr. Lamont.

LAMONT: They didn't find them. But no one will ever hear of them again.

BENSON: What do you mean?

LAMONT: It's difficult to explain to anyone but you. Because you and I know 
there was something strange about that place.

BENSON: Yes.

LAMONT: I was with the firemen when they went through the wreckage that was 
their bedroom. There was nothing there. But, Benson, as we were going through 
it -- smoke, of course, was smoldering there -- but a huge purple flame sprung 
up and seemed lose itself in the atmosphere. It startled me. I stepped back. 
Firemen thought I'd found something. Of course, I - I couldn't explain to 
them. I don't know that I can explain to you. But it was as if, well, as if 
something registered in my mind and a voice said to me: "You'll never find 
their bodies. They're gone. Gone forever." 

SOUND: WIND BLOWS AND DOGS HOWL ... AND WE ARE BACK WITH THE HERMIT

HERMIT: (CACKLING LAUGHTER) With the house burned down, they who lived in the 
world of purple shadows are liberated forever. They're free, no longer 
tortured. (CACKLES) Turn on your lights! Turn them on! (CACKLES) I'll be back. 
Pleasant dreams! (CACKLES)

SOUND: WIND AND DOGS CONTINUE

ANNOUNCER: All characters, places and occurrences mentioned in "The Hermit's 
Cave" are fictitious and similarity to persons, places or occurrences is 
purely accidental.

SOUND: WIND AND DOGS CONTINUE ... THEN FADE


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