Below we present the complete text of Dark Ritual; episode 3 (the final episode) of The Cult of the Teeth.
THE CULT OF THE TEETH
EPISODE #2 – The Missing Girls
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Edited by Margaret Wilkins
Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition.
This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction are allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to https://www.weirdworldstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
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Serial #2: The Cult of the Teeth
“The Cult of the Teeth” is the second play in our Pulp Adventure series featuring Trent Stone and Tess Carter. Glory-hound and expert hunter, Maynard Havelock III, is the victim of a ritual murder shortly after having dinner with Trent Stone and Tess Carter. Finding themselves at the top of the suspect list, Trent and Tess are forced to investigate the disappearance of a number of young women from Star City University in a bid to clear their names. Their investigation takes them in search of an ancient cult (recently established in the modern city in which they have made their home), a missing obelisk, and behind it all, a familiar wheel-chaired villain. Can they prove their innocence and prevent the cult from committing any more ritual murders?
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TERESA CARTER: Our heroine and reporter
TRENT STONE: Our hero and adventurer
MAYNARD HAVELOCK III: Big Game Hunter
TONY WELLS: Detective and League supporter
ALASDAIR STANDISH: Dean of Anthropology
RICKY (THUG #3): Thug employed by Tommy Boscone
CLAIRE MANNIX: Head of the Beta-Phi Sorority
MESSENGER: Message courier
SFX: 1 SFX artist required
SCENE 18: INT. IMPRISONED IN THE WAREHOUSE — AN INDETERMINATE AMOUNT OF TIME LATER
(TERESA, TRENT, CLAIRE, ALASDAIR)
347. MUSIC:  OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
348. NARRATOR: The murder of a good friend has put Trent Stone and Tess Carter on the trail of a mysterious South American death cult calling itself the Cult of the Teeth. The trail has led them to discover that a number of girls have gone missing from the local university, which in turn has led them to a warehouse on the docks. Unfortunately, on entering the warehouse, they have been gassed into unconsciousness.
349. SOUND:  WALLA — LOW BACKGROUND CHANTING — FADE IN, ESTABLISH AND UNDER — CONTINUE UNTIL NEXT SOUND
350. TERESA: (GROANS) Oh, where are we? … Trent… are you there?…
351. TRENT: (GROANS) Wow. That gas really rang my bell. (GRUNTS) Where’s that light coming from?
352. TERESA: It’ll get better in a minute. My vision’s already starting to clear.
353. TRENT: Oh, yes. I’m starting to make things out. What’s that over there?
354. TERESA: An altar I think. There’s a girl tied to it. Four figures are kneeling in front of it, wearing those outlandish South American get-ups we saw the other night.
355. TRENT: Yes. I see. Behind the altar, is that a priestess? And to her right? Isn’t that…?
356. TERESA: Alasdair Standish! Dressed as outlandishly as the rest. And what’s that hanging above the altar — some kind of basket with a fist-sized rock in it… that blue diamond-like material again…
357. TRENT: (PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER) And overshadowing it all, the obelisk that was stolen from the Natural History Museum.
358. SOUND:  CHANTING HALTS
359. CLAIRE MANNIX: Ah, I see our guests are awake. Don’t bother trying to escape, you are tied quite securely.
360. TERESA: (STAGE WHISPER) What’s the matter with her eyes? They almost look like they’re glowing.
361. CLAIRE: Silence! I do not suffer fools lightly. You have only been spared in order to witness the triumph of our work here.
362. TRENT: And what is that work? Why are you here?
363. CLAIRE: We are the servants of Itzamna, the alligator god, creator of the world, and punisher of blasphemers. This city, home to the albino alligators of the sewers, is now holy to us and we have been drawn here on sacred pilgrimage.
364. TERESA: (SARCASTICALLY) How far has she been drawn?
With that accent she couldn’t have been born more than a few miles from here.
365. CLAIRE: Insolent cow! Would you care to see what happens to those who cross me? Turn around Standish! Show them your back!
366. TERESA: Oh my! His back… It’s covered in blood. He has been…
367. CLAIRE: Whipped? Scourged? Yes. He lost his stomach for our great work when the sacrifices began. Foolish man, thinking our devotion to the old ways was merely an anthropological exercise. Still, I would have thought the photos I kept of the two of us would have kept him quiet. And yet he still tried to set you on my trail. He has learned the price to be paid for disloyalty to the Chilan of Itzamna. And if I am willing to do this to one of my own followers… be assured that I have no qualms about putting an end to worthless rabble like you.
368. TRENT: He set us on your..? Wait a moment, you’re Claire Mannix!
369. CLAIRE: (IMPRESSED) Very good, Mister Stone. I’m sure you recognize the woman tied to the altar as Miss Shelley Rossiter as well. She’d say hello except that she has been drugged. We find the sacrifices go so much more smoothly when the victims are docile.
370. TERESA: You cowardly monster! These killings are so senseless, so twisted!
371. CLAIRE: Oh, sticks and stones, my dear Tess. Yes, I know who you are too. But as for senseless? Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything we have done has served a most noble purpose!
372. TRENT: Oh, and what purpose did the death of Maynard Havelock III serve? What possible reason could you have had for killing a man who was a complete stranger to this city?
373. CLAIRE: Isn’t it enough that Itzamna requires blood sacrifices? But in Havelock’s case there was indeed more. He was a blasphemer. He was here with the stated intent of hunting the chosen creatures of our god; the alligators of the sewers. This we could not tolerate. We spilled his blood as is only fitting. We are the Cult of the Teeth, and it is our duty to punish all who oppose the will of Itzamna or dare to defile his pets.
374. TRENT: And the picture of Shelley Rossiter that was found in his fist?
375. CLAIRE: What picture..? (REALISATION DAWNING) Oh, but it was Alasdair, of course!
(ADDRESSING ALASDAIR) Does your treachery have no end? You put it in the dead man’s hands, didn’t you? Clearly you had a deal more courage than I credited you with. Still, no matter! Look what your treachery has got you? Your vaunted saviors are my prisoners and you, yourself, are a slave to my will. Is that not so?
376. ALASDAIR: (BROKENLY) Yes, mistress.
377. TERESA: You’re mad! Surely you understand that performing human sacrifices in a modern city will not go unnoticed? Sooner or later someone will investigate, just like us.
378. CLAIRE: Ha! Let them. We have not come here to establish a temple. Our mission will be completed this very evening and then we shall be gone.
379. TRENT: And what mission is that?
380. CLAIRE: Such ignorance. Our benefactor sent us here to charge the stone of Iridion that hangs in the basket above the altar and to recover the mighty Tetzen obelisk behind me.
381. TERESA: Your benefactor?
382. CLAIRE: Yes. The one who has brought our great religion back from the edge of extinction, the one who has funded our pilgrimage — our great high priest, the Ah Kin Mai of Itzamna.
But enough bandying words with unbelievers and fools. Behold, we are about to sacrifice this woman to mighty Itzamna, alligator god and creator of the world. With her life-force, the stone of Iridion will be charged and, with the aid of the stone, a portal will be opened through the obelisk allowing our benefactor to come through and be revealed.
(SHARPLY) Alasdair, since you seem to have so little stomach for the reality of our rituals, go and check the bonds on our guests and return to your post by the obelisk.
383. ALASDAIR: Yes Mistress.
384. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING BEGINS AGAIN — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
385. CLAIRE: (AS IF READING FROM A BOOK) Creator of the thirteen heavens, mighty Itzamna, we beg your power to come upon us.
386. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING CONTINUES — UP BRIEFLY THEN CONTINUE UNDER
387. ALASDAIR: (WHISPERING) Stone, do you still have the blowgun and dart I dropped at the restaurant?
388. TRENT: (WHISPERING) You dropped that? Yes, I have it.
389. ALASDAIR: (WHISPERING) You’ve only got one chance. She’ll kill you both (and me) once she has what she wants. She’s completely insane.
390. TRENT: (WHISPERING) What do you suggest?
391. CLAIRE: (STILL READING) Protector of the alligator and its brethren, supplier of the mighty rivers and hunting grounds, mighty Itzamna, look upon the sacrifice we bring this day.
392. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING CONTINUES — UP BRIEFLY THEN CONTINUE UNDER
393. ALASDAIR: (WHISPERING) Wait until the ritual reaches its height… you’ll know the moment. When everyone is focused on the portal, fire the dart into the stone. You will release all the stored energy and should be able to get away in the confusion.
(PAUSE) There, I’ve weakened your bonds. You should be able to break free.
394. TERESA: (WHISPERING) And what about me?
395. ALASDAIR: I haven’t forgotten you. (BEAT) There!
396. TERESA: Why are you doing this?
397. CLAIRE: (STILL READING) Mighty Itzamna, dealer of death, bringer of teeth in the dark, grant us this boon we request.
398. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING CONTINUES — UP BRIEFLY THEN CONTINUE UNDER
399. ALASDAIR: (BITTERLY WHISPERING) She has murdered two of my students already, and I was… too weak to prevent it…
400. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING CONTINUES — GROWS GRADUALLY LOUDER AS RITUAL REACHES HEIGHT
401. ALASDAIR: (URGENTLY) I must return to my place before she notices the time I have taken.
402. CLAIRE: We ask that you grant your power to us, that you draw the life from this offering before you, and fill the stone of Iridion with the energies of creation.
403. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING CONTINUES — UP BRIEFLY THEN CONTINUE UNDER — CONTINUE UNTIL NEXT SOUND
404. TERESA: Trent, look at Miss Rossiter. Something’s happening.
405. TRENT: It looks like she’s beginning to wake up.
406. TERESA: No, she’s in pain. Oh, Trent, she’s writhing, struggling against her bonds…
407. TRENT: No Tess, that’s not it. Look, something mistlike is rising from her. It’s forming into thin clouds that stream upward into that stone hanging in the basket.
408. TERESA: And the stone, it’s beginning to glow.
409. SOUND:  WALLA — CHANTING CONTINUES AND CONCLUDES
410. SOUND:  FAINT RINGING SOUND AS THE STONE IS CHARGED
411. CLAIRE: Yes. Yes! Feel the power of Itzamna. Know his strength, his majesty! Cower before him, all you who doubt his greatness…
It is done. Now I will reach forth my hand and take the stone… It is charged.
412. TRENT: What is she..? Oh, she’s placing it in that egg-shaped depression in the obelisk.
413. SOUND:  SOUND OF STONE AGAINST STONE LIKE A SLOW GRINDING BUTTON BEING PRESSED
414. SOUND:  WALLA — A KEENING RHYTHMIC PULSATING SOUND BEGINS — ESTABLISH AND UNDER — CONTINUE UNTIL 420.
415. TRENT: This must be the moment. It’s now or never, Tess.
416. SOUND:  SOUND LIKE A TELESCOPE BEING EXTENDED AND CLICKING INTO PLACE
417. TERESA: The obelisk is turning translucent… and something is coming towards us… as if down a long passage.
418. TRENT: Here goes.
419. SOUND:  PHUT THUNK OF DART BEING BLOWN
420. SOUND:  THE RHYTHM OF THE PULSES INCREASES AND THE PITCH OF THE RINGING GOES UP ALARMINGLY — CONTINUE UNTIL NEXT SOUND
421. CLAIRE: What have you done?
422. TRENT: I think it’s going to explode. Tess, get down.
423. SOUND:  SOUND OF EXPLOSION
424. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
425. TERESA: [CUE] (GROANS)
426. SOUND:  SOUND OF SHIFTING RUBBLE
427. TERESA: What hit me? Oh… (BEAT) a warehouse. Trent, are you okay?
428. SOUND:  MORE SHIFTING RUBBLE
429. TRENT: (COUGHS) That’s the second time I’ve had my bell rung today. Help me up will you, and we’ll see if anyone else made it.
(GRUNTS AS HE RISES)
430. TERESA: It looks like Standish took the brunt of the blast. He’s dead.
431. TRENT: Miss Rossiter’s still here… and she’s breathing. I think the altar may have protected her from the worst of it. Her heartbeat’s very weak though. I wonder what they did to her?
432. TERESA: The cultists appear to be gone.
433. TRENT: Melted away like before. What about..?
434. TERESA: Claire Mannix? She’s here… and she’s alive.
435. SOUND:  SOUND OF DISTANT SIRENS APPROACHING
436. CLAIRE: (COUGHING AND BEWILDERED) Where am I? Who are you? This isn’t Lima. Was there an earthquake?
437. TERESA: Don’t bother trying that amnesia schtick with me, sister? Hear those sirens? With any luck, you’re going to jail for a very long time.
438. CLAIRE: What? But I…
439. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) TRIUMPHANT SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
440. SOUND:  WALLA — STREET SOUNDS, PASSING CAR ETC.— FADE IN ESTABLISH AND UNDER
441. WELLS: Alright folks, thanks for your statements. Miss Rossiter’s in the hospital and the obelisk is being removed from the rubble and returned to the Natural History Museum.
442. TRENT: And what’s going to happen to Miss Mannix?
443. WELLS: There was blood matching that of the two missing girls and Maynard Havelock on her knife. She was found in the clothing of a death cult and, with your testimony, we’ll get her for kidnapping and contributing to the death of Alasdair Standish as well. With any luck, she’ll be facing the chair.
444. TERESA: The death penalty?
445. WELLS: Sure. She murdered three people in cold blood and was prevented from murdering a fourth.
That’s a capital offense.
446. TERESA: And what about her state of mind?
447. WELLS: The amnesia? It’s an act! I doubt she’ll be able to keep it up long enough for it to do her any good in court.
448. TRENT: Thanks, Wells. I hope this takes us off your suspect list.
449. WELLS: Yeah, sure. But what’s this business about you and the Cordovas? There’s no truth to the idea that you guys are getting pally is there?
450. TRENT: Oh that. None at all.
451. MESSENGER: Mr. Stone. Mr. Stone!
452. TRENT: Yes. That’s me.
453. MESSENGER: Ah, Mr. Stone. I’ve got a note for you from Mr. Caesar Cordova.
454. WELLS: Give me that.
“Mr. Stone and Miss Carter,
Many thanks for handling this matter on my behalf. I owe you one. C. Cordova”
(DISGUSTED) Nothing to it, huh?
455. SOUND:  MALE RETREATING FOOTSTEPS
456. TRENT: Wells, wait. It’s not what you… aw, hell.
457. TERESA: Let him go, Stone. (BEAT) I noticed that your statement left out the part about the glowing rock and the portal opening in the obelisk.
458. TRENT: The police don’t want to know about those sorts of details, Tess. A judge is just as likely to throw a case out as try it if the witnesses start talking about glowing crystals and ancient gods.
459. TERESA: I also noticed you kept the rock.
460. TRENT: I didn’t know what else to do with it. It’s too dangerous to leave lying around.
461. TERESA: Did you get much of a look at the figure trying to get through the portal?
462. TRENT: No, I was too busy trying to aim the blowgun at the rock… why, did you?
463. TERESA: Not really. All I saw was a silhouette. A silhouette of someone in a wheelchair rolling himself towards us.
464. TRENT: You what?
465. TERESA: That’s right… A wheelchair.
466. TRENT: Well, Miriam Ribbensberg did warn us that it wasn’t over when we saw the Technomaster go over the edge of that chasm in his wheelchair.
467. TERESA: I guess not.
468. SOUND:  SOUND OF CAR SCREECHING TO A HALT
469. TERESA: Trent, get down.
470. SOUND:  THUMP OF BODIES HITTING THE GROUND FOLLOWED BY THE SOUND OF TOMMY-GUN FIRE
471. RICKY: (YELLING) Tommy Boscone says your time is up! The gloves are off. Ha hahaha.
472. SOUND:  SCREECH OF TYRES AS CAR DRIVES AWAY
473. TRENT: (GROANS) You know, Tess, I’m beginning to hate this town.
474. TERESA: You and me, both. But you know what?
475. TRENT: What?
476. TERESA: We’re members of the League of Adventure Seekers, and this is what we do!
477. TRENT: (PAUSE) Tess?
478. TERESA: Yes, Trent?
479. TRENT: Do you think you could get off me now?
480. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) CLOSING THEME MUSIC — ESTABLISH, FADE UNDER AND CREDITS
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forward. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
TRENT STONE: Hello, I’m Trent Stone, Adventurer. I’m always in command of the situation (except perhaps, when it comes to Tess — who can easily throw me for a loop). I say things like “indeed,” “hmmm,” and “I see” a lot, and speak in a way that friends of Clark Kent would find very familiar. I’m smart, observant, and quick to use my fists when required (but never impulsive). I sound like Joe College but I’m blue collar through and through. My lack of higher education is something of an embarrassment to me (but I’d never let on).
I’m aware of Tess’s flirting, and occasionally I wonder if it’s more than just a way to keep entertained on the job — mostly I just ignore it and keep on working.
TERESA CARTER: Hiya. Everyone calls me Tess. I’m the take-no-prisoners sort who can hold her own in the man’s world that is the concrete jungle of Star City. I’m college educated but have a mean right hook. I’m a reporter by training and a stickybeak by inclination — this tends to get me in trouble. Curious, playful, and smart, that’s me! But I’m also painfully honest, easily moved by the troubles of others, and as protective as a tigress of my friends. I secretly have a thing for Trent (who’s a bit of a stuffed shirt and easily embarrassed by flirting). We both pretend it’s not there for the sake of the job, but I can’t help occasionally feeling a bit wistful.
TONY WELLS: I’m a detective in a city full of liars, cheats, killers, and con-men. You’d think that would have made me a cynic. And I guess it has a little. But underneath the hard-boiled exterior, I actually give a damn. I do this job because I want to keep people safe from the animals and predators who roam the dark side of the city. I believe in heroes, or at least I want to believe in them. I’m still not sure about Stone and Carter. They cross a lot of lines… but then so do I.
ALASDAIR STANDISH: What was that, my dear? Oh yes, I am the Dean of the School of Anthropology. Yes, it’s an absolutely fascinating subject. It’s the study of (LASCIVIOUSLY) the most basic, the most primal, societies… (DISTRACTED) My but you have the most lovely blonde hair… and beautiful blue eyes. Oh, sorry… I get so easily distracted these days. The pressures of the job and my advancing age you know. Perhaps (LASCIVIOUSLY AGAIN) we could meet later to engage in some extra tuition.
Oh my dear, of course, it would all be above board. I’m old enough to be your father after all. No, no. You have absolutely nothing to worry about with me!
CLAIRE MANNIX: I am fanatically devoted to Itzamna, the alligator god. I would do anything for him (all praise his mighty form). I will kill every blasphemer, I will make the altar run with the blood of sacrifice once more, and I will fulfill my mission in this city blessed with the presence of our god’s chosen pets.
I am powerful, none more so, except of course the Ah Kin Mai of Itzamna: the High Priest whom I serve. But what of you? You do not appear to be wearing the garments of the priesthood.
Guards! Have this insect bound and placed upon the altar. There will be blood tonight!
MESSENGER: I’m just a kid really, hawking newspapers, all enthusiasm, and energy. When I get a tip, that just makes my day.
ALL THUGS: Life’s tough all over. Honest jobs are hard to come by. But I’m not like the saps who sit around doing what they’re told. I take what I want. So I break a few heads along the way? What of it? I’m good at it. I don’t have to think too much and… hey, what are you lookin’ at?
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, an e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
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This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.