The Alchemist – Episode 5 – Curse’s End

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Below we present the complete text of “Curse’s End”, episode 5 (and the final) of our new Two Fisted Cosmic Horror serial; The Alchemist. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (featuring Antoine Duvalier and Brigitte LeGrande). If you would like to see these new stories advance from being drafts into polished publications then please consider supporting us by purchasing one or more of our previously published titles (they’re only $25.99 (AUD), great value for a whole night of entertainment for 6 – 8 people). Every sale directly funds the production of new stories.

Two Fisted Cosmic Horror - CH001 - The Alchemist
Two-Fisted Cosmic Horror – CH001 – The Alchemist
Recommended for mature audiences - may contain adult situations and themes
Recommended for mature audiences – may contain adult situations and themes

THE ALCHEMIST

EPISODE #5 – CURSE’S END

by Philip Craig Robotham

Cover Illustration by Miyukiko

Unedited Draft

Copyright 2016 Philip Craig Robotham

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition.

CC by-nc-nd 4.0
CC by-nc-nd 4.0

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.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.

Serial #6: The Alchemist

Trent Stone and Tess Carter are approached by a young French count (Antoine Duvalier) who, after the sudden death of his brother, is concerned that he has been cursed.  He asks for their help and they travel to France where they meet his childhood friend (Brigitte LeGrande), encounter a spooky chateau, numerous attempts on Antoine’s life, and pursue an underlying mystery involving a centuries-long quest for revenge. Can they unravel this mystery before the young count’s life is lost? Tune in thrill to the excitement of “The Alchemist” and find out for yourself.

Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.

CURSE’S END

CAST LIST

NARRATOR: The Narrator

TERESA CARTER: Our heroine and reporter

TRENT STONE: Our hero and adventurer

ANTOINE Duvalier: Comte of the Chateau Duvalier

BRIGITTE LeGRANDE: Childhood friend of Antoine

GAVROSH: Child from the village

CHARLES: Son of the Alchemist

HOWARD LOVECRAFT: Writer of Macabre Tales and friend of Antoine

ACT 3

SCENE 21: (INT) IN THE CAVERN (TRENT, TESS, GAVROSH, BRIGITTE, ANTOINE, CHARLES)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. NARRATOR: While on a trip to France to help wealthy Comte Antoine Duvalier rid himself of a family curse, Tess, Trent, a small boy named Gavrosh, and the injured Brigitte LeGrande, find themselves trapped in a tunnel beneath Antoine’s chateau. With no choice but to go forward, they follow the tunnel into a cavern but have since become ensnared in nets that were set to trap them. In the dark, as they dangle from the ceiling, they hear the voice of their captor.
  3. SOUND: SWINGING NETS (CREAKING) ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  4. CHARLES: So, there you are, held in my nets. I have you, dangling from the roof, like kittens in sacks waiting to be drowned. Mwahahahahaha.
  5. BRIGITTE: Sacre! It’s hideous.
  6. TESS: Are you even alive? Are you in pain? You look starved, emaciated.
  7. CHARLES: Of course I am alive. I have enjoyed more life than you can even begin to imagine. I neither eat nor sleep. The elixir gives me all the life I need.
  8. TRENT: A parody of life. You are little more than skin hanging on bones. How long have you existed like this?
  9. CHARLES: You would dare to pity me? You are insects, too stupid to even guess who I am. (BEAT) I am the scourge upon this house. The killer of countless generations of Comtes. Down through the centuries I have come, taking revenge upon this weak bloodline of puffed up petty lordlings until now, the line is almost extinct. I am…
  10. TRENT: (SNEERING) You are Charles, son of Mauvais, discoverer of the elixir of life, and pitiful monster, cursed to this thin, stretched existence, consumed by hate beyond anything sane.
  11. CHARLES: Mad? You think me mad? I have achieved more than you can possibly comprehend. I have studied long and hard. I have probed the mysteries of ointments and philters, potions, and scents. I can bewitch the mind, enslave the body, and…
  12. TESS: Get yourself checked into a ward at a sanitarium.
  13. CHARLES: Bah! You will see. I will show you all!
  14. SOUND: BANGS AND CLANKS OF WINCHES AT WORK – CONTINUE UNDER UNTIL 789.
  15. GAVROSH: Wait, what’s happening? We’re moving.
  16. TESS: The nets are being moved along the ceiling.
  17. ANTOINE: You won’t get away with this.
  18. CHARLES: My dear Monsieur Le Comte, I wouldn’t be so quick to draw attention to yourself with this bravado, if I were you. Don’t get me wrong – I still intend to kill you – but I intend to play a little first. It has been too long since I last had any entertainment down here.
  19. TESS: (SARCASTIC) If you can’t find a good book to read, you should get yourself a radio.
  20. CHARLES: Laugh all you will, Miss Carter… and yes, I know exactly who you are… but I will soon wipe that superior smirk off your face.
  21. ANTOINE: (STAGE WHISPER) Gavrosh. Here, take my knife. Your net looks the flimsiest. I’m not sure what this monster has in mind, but if anything happens to us, you must survive.
  22. GAVROSH: But monsieur?
  23. ANTOINE: I know, Gavrosh. But you are on the edge and not over the pit. You are our best chance. Now cut. Quickly.
  24. SOUND: SAWING NOISE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  25. SOUND: WINCHES CONTINUE AND COME TO A CLUNK STOP – LET IT FINISH.
  26. TESS: Whoah. You’ve moved us over the arena.
  27. CHARLES: Yes. The bone pit awaits. In you go!
  28. SOUND: MACHINERY RELEASE AND DROP OF TESS AND TRENT ONTO BONES – LET IT FINISH.
  29. TRENT AND TESS: (UNDER) Ugh! Oh, Ouch! Etc.
  30. ANTOINE: No! You monster! What do you intend to do to them?
  31. CHARLES: I’ve put your friends into the pit for a purpose, monsieur. First them, then the boy and your woman, mademoiselle LeGrande. Watch as I grant them the ability to see monsters. (BEAT) Monsieur Stone? Mademoiselle Carter? Catch!
  32. TRENT: Tess, look out!
  33. SOUND: SMASH OF TWO GLASS AMPOULES AND HISS OF ESCAPING GAS – LET IT FINISH.
  34. TESS: (COUGHING) He’s thrown in some kind of gas bombs. I can’t… see…
  35. CHARLES: Don’t worry, my dear. It simply allows you to see the creature in the pit with you. Do you see it yet? The monster?
  36. TESS: Yes… Yes, I see it. It’s huge and hideous. With tentacles where its face should be and long scaly arms with claws.
  37. CHARLES: Yes it is. And it will be coming for you.
  38. TRENT: Tess where are you? I can see it. It’s here.
  39. TESS: It’s coming towards me.
  40. CHARLES: You need to defend yourself. Take up some of the bones that surround you. Fashion a club or a knife. Fight. Fight for your lives. Bwahahaha!
  41. TRENT: I can see it, Tess. I’m coming. It’s just standing there waiting.
  42. TESS: It’s coming right at me, Trent. It’s…
  43. SOUND: RIP AND LIGHT BODY DROP – UNDER.
  44. CHARLES: (WITH MAD ENTHUSIASM) Kill it! Go-on, Kill it!
  45. SOUND: RUNNING FEET APPROACHING) LET IT FINISH.
  46. GAVROSH: No. No! It is you who will be killed.
  47. SOUND: STABBING – LET IT FINISH.
  48. CHARLES: (IN PAIN) Argh! You little beast! You’ve escaped.
  49. GAVROSH: Take that!
  50. SOUND: STABBING – LET IT FINISH.
  51. CHARLES: (WAILING) Aargh, it hurts. I haven’t felt this for so long. Pain!
  52. GAVROSH: Then take this, too!
  53. SOUND: PUSH AND SPLASH – THEN SPLASHING – UNDER
  54. CHARLES: (SCREAMING AS HE DROWNS) You’ve drowned me. I’m being boiled alive. I cannot swi… (GLUB GLUB GLUB).
  55. GAVROSH: Uh… I… I killed him.
  56. ANTOINE: Trent? Tess? Can you hear me? There is nothing in the arena with you.
  57. TRENT: But… I can see it.
  58. ANTOINE: No. You can see Tess. The gas. It has altered your perception. Stop moving.
  59. TRENT: Alright.
  60. ANTOINE: Tess. The monster has stopped moving now too, hasn’t it?
  61. TESS: Y… yes! We’ve been drugged to see each other as monsters. (BEAT) I could have killed you, Trent.
  62. TRENT: And me you. We’ll need to wait for the gas to wear off a little before we do anything more. (BEAT) Antoine, how is Brigitte?
  63. ANTOINE: Brigitte! Brigitte, are you alright?
  64. BRIGITTE: (no answer)
  65. ANTOINE: She’s not responding. Gavrosh, can you get us down? Gavrosh?
  66. GAVROSH: Sorry, yes. (SNIFFS. TRYING TO SOUND BRAVE) I’ll get the controls. It won’t be gentle though.
  67. ANTOINE: That’s fine. Just hurry.
  68. GAVROSH: Yes, monsieur.
  69. SOUND: MACHINERY RELEASE AND DROP OF ANTOINE AND BRIGITTE ONTO BONES – LET IT FINISH.
  70. ANTOINE: Oh, aargh! Brigitte. Are you alright?
  71. TESS: You appear like two more monsters. Is she okay?
  72. ANTOINE: She is breathing… but she is not conscious. (BEAT) Gavrosh can you find something to get us out of here? (TO SELF) At least the gas has cleared, even if Trent and Tess are still useless and under its effects.
  73. TESS: I heard that!
  74. ANTOINE: Good!
  75. GAVROSH: Oi! There is a cable over here. I’ll lower it to you… but you’ll have to climb it yourselves. I’m not strong enough to lift you out.
  76. ANTOINE: Thankyou Gavrosh. Trent, are you under control, yet?
  77. TRENT: Everything looks strange, but yes. I’m in control of everything except my perceptions.
  78. ANTOINE: Good. I need your help to get Brigitte out of this hole. (BEAT) I’ll climb up first and then between us we’ll haul her up.
  79. TESS: Yeah, well. Don’t ignore me just cause you both look like some kind of cross between Italian noodles and a seafood platter. I can help, you know?
  80. ANTOINE: Er… I don’t know…
  81. TRENT: Don’t argue, Antoine. That never ends well.
  82. ANTOINE: Can you even see the lip of the arena?
  83. TESS: It’s kind of on the wobbly side, but things are starting to firm up.
  84. TRENT: Yeah, and it’s not growing purple hair anymore.
  85. ANTOINE: That’s very comforting. I’m going up. Try not to place any strain on her burns when you pick her up. (GRUNTS) Ugh. Hmpf. Etc. (FADE OUT).
  86. TESS: (RELIEF) Ugh! I’m glad that’s over. She’s heavier than she looks. Just let me catch my breath and I’ll be able to help you carry Brigitte out of these tunnels and get her to a doctor.
  87. ANTOINE: How are things looking. More or less normal. Where’s Gavrosh?
  88. TRENT: He’s over by the boiling pool.
  89. TESS: Is that where he pushed the Alchemist in?
  90. ANTOINE: (ANNOYED AT SELF) Ugh! I’ve been so busy with Brigitte I forgot about the boy.
  91. TESS: I’ll go talk to him.
  92. SOUND: WALKING ACROSS TO THE BOY – LET IT FINISH.
  93. TESS: (GENTLY) Gavrosh? Are you okay?
  94. GAVROSH: I thought I’d feel better, after… I didn’t mean to kill him.
  95. TESS: You didn’t kill him Gavrosh. He slipped and fell into the pool. It was an accident at best. You were very brave, you know? He would have killed all of us if you hadn’t acted as you did.
  96. GAVROSH: I didn’t feel brave. I don’t think I felt anything at all. Just anger! (BEAT) My sister’s gone, isn’t she?
  97. TESS: Yes, Gavrosh. She’s gone.
  98. GAVROSH: Look at him down there. Just lying at the bottom. His eyes are still open. (DETACHED) He doesn’t look like much now, does he?
  99. TESS: Oh Gavrosh, I didn’t realize you could still see him. Come away. He’s finished with now. There is nothing good that will come of watching his body disintegrate.
  100. TESS: (SNIFFS) Yes, mademoiselle.
  101. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS – LET THEM FINISH.
  102. TRENT: Is the boy alright?
  103. TESS: He’ll be fine. But we need to get out of here. How’s Brigitte?
  104. TRENT: She’s passed out. But she’s warmed up a little. I think she’ll be okay if we get her out of here quickly.
  105. BRIGITTE: (GROANS) What? What happened?
  106. ANTOINE: It’s alright Brigitte, we’re safe. You were unconscious for a little while.
  107. BRIGITTE: Antoine. What happened to…?
  108. ANTOINE: It is alright. He is dead. He cannot hurt us ever again. The curse has been lifted.
  109. TESS: Can you walk, Brigitte?
  110. BRIGITTE: Yes. I can (ugh!) but my arm still hurts.
  111. TRENT: We’ll get that taken care of as soon as possible. For right now let’s get out of here. There is an opening on the other side of this cavern.
  112. BRIGITTE: Lay on, MacDuff.
  113. TESS: Seriously? Macbeth with a French accent?
  114. BRIGITTE: Why not? You English keep trying to perform stage versions of Victor Hugo’s works.
  115. TESS: Fair enough. Come on.
  116. GAVROSH: I will help you Mademoiselle Brigitte.
  117. BRIGITTE: Thankyou Gavrosh.
  118. SOUND: WALKING SEVERAL STEPS THEN AN AUDIBLE CLICK – LET IT FINISH.
  119. TESS: Trent? What was that?
  120. TRENT: It sounded like a pressure plate under the floor.
  121. SOUND: RUMBLING BUILDS SLOWLY – PUNCTUATED BY POPS, BANGS, AND HISSES – UNDER
  122. TRENT: Yep! I’d say we’ve set off some kind of failsafe.
  123. ANTOINE: And… How should we respond?
  124. SOUND: OCCASIONAL ROCKS FALLING – UNDER
  125. TRENT: If we don’t want to find ourselves buried alive, I’d say our best bet is to run. And fast.
  126. SOUND: RUNNING FEET – FADE OUT.
  127. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 22: INT – LOCAL HOSPITAL (TRENT, TESS, ANTOINE, BRIGITTE)

  1. SOUND: HEART RATE MONITOR BEEPING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. PUBLIC ADDRESS: Dr. Ferrer to I.C.U, please. Dr. Ferrer.
  3. TRENT: Tess, what are you doing out here in the corridor?
  4. TESS: Antoine wanted a moment with Brigitte. I think he may be about to propose.
  5. TRENT: What, marriage???
  6. TESS: No, backgammon. Of course marriage.
  7. TRENT: (STERNLY) Tess, you haven’t been meddling have you?
  8. TESS: (ANNOYED) Oh, get off your high horse. No, I haven’t. Antoine’s just had a few home truths brought to his attention by the experiences of the last day or two.
  9. TRENT: Sorry Tess. Of course, you’re right. The chemistry between the two of them was pretty obvious from the start.
  10. TESS: I think the only thing holding them back was Antoine’s foolish notion that she was in love with his brother. That, and how she didn’t have the nerve to tell him she hadn’t felt that way about Gaspard since they were in their teens.
  11. TRENT: Ah, L’amore. It makes fools of us all. And now that this curse has been dealt with, he can take a wife without worrying that he is sentencing her to early widowhood.
  12. TESS: Yeah. Do you think that emaciated figure in the tunnels really was the alchemist Charles son of Mauvais?
  13. TRENT: It strains credulity, but we’ve both seen stranger.
  14. TESS: Yeah, I guess we have. But imagine it, all those centuries devoted to hate and vengeance? Such a waste. And with the elixir of life at his command too.
  15. TRENT: An elixir that rendered him a walking corpse. If the curse existed at all, it was the one that condemned Charles to that hideous half-life below the Chateau. I think that it’s a good thing that the tunnels have caved in. Charles’ secret is lost with his corpse.
  16. TESS: And that poor boy, Gavrosh – and his sister? In terms of the damage it did, the curse had a very long reach.
  17. TRENT: Yes. Gavrosh is back with his family now. When I left them, just now, they were all grief-stricken. The police will recover the bodies of the little girl and the Banker from the Chateau. This adventure has been marred by grief and…
  18. TESS: I know… we can never hope to save them all. We just do the best we can.
  19. TRENT: And that was precious little on this trip. In the end, the day was saved by a little boy while the two of us were planning to kill each other in a drugged stupor. (SIGH)
  20. TESS: Cheer up. It’s not all darkness. I think Antoine and Brigitte will be happy together, despite the grief that has made it possible. She’s going to have a nasty scar on her arm from that chemical burn. (BEAT) You know Trent, I’ve been thinking.
  21. TRENT: Yes, me too. But, you go first.
  22. TESS: Maybe I’ve been putting you under too much pressure over this marriage thing. If you’re not ready…
  23. TRENT: (INTERRUPTING) How about Paris?
  24. TESS: What?
  25. TRENT: Well, we’re here aren’t we? Wouldn’t it be nice to get married in Paris?
  26. TESS: What, now?
  27. TRENT: Well, yes. It’s only a train trip away and I figure while Antoine could play best man, Brigitte would make a lovely bridesmaid.
  28. TESS: But… but…
  29. TRENT: I know I’ve been slow to get around to this. I’ve been waiting for the right moment. Sometime when things are quiet for the two of us. But frankly…
  30. TESS: Life is never quiet, I know.
  31. TRENT: So…
  32. TESS: It’s kind of like eloping isn’t it?
  33. TRENT: Neither of us has family to worry about… and our friends tend to be scattered about the world engaged in various forms of hero work, we can hardly offend anyone by not inviting them when they’re all too busy to attend anyway… so…
  34. TESS: Yes! Absolutely, yes!
  35. ANTOINE: (AT A DISTANCE) Ha Ha! Yes! You have made me the happiest man in the world! I shall go out and tell them.
  36. SOUND: STEPS – DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
  37. ANTOINE: (ELATED) My friends! We want you to be the first to know. Brigitte and I are engaged to be married!
  38. TRENT: Congratulations old man. We’re so pleased for you!
  39. TESS: Yes, congratulations. That’s wonderful news.
  40. ANTOINE: Of course you will have to attend the wedding. It will take some time to organize – Brigitte has, apparently, many in-laws and cousins who must be invited – and I will need someone to come and sit on my side of the church.
  41. TRENT: It would be an honor.
  42. TESS: Oh, we wouldn’t miss it!
  43. ANTOINE: Come in and celebrate with us. Brigitte will want to tell you all her plans – I fear they are evolving by the minute.
  44. TESS: Well, I’m glad you’re already recognizing your place in this process, Antoine.
  45. TRENT: But, before I join you, I’d like to use the telephone. I want to send a message to your friend Howard Lovecraft while the events are still fresh in my memory. I think he’d be able to make a pretty good story out of these last few days.
  46. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.

CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS

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 urgency about tying the knot, but 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. Now that Trent’s owned up to his feelings about me and we’re engaged, it’s time to set a date. But Trent keeps dragging his feet. I’m not getting any younger, you know?

ANTOINE Duvalier: Bonjour. I am the Comte du Chateau Duvalier (Count of Duvalier Castle) and I have discovered that the legendary curse, rumored to have killed off every male heir to the title of my family estate for generations, is not so legendary after all. My brother is dead, and I am the last of my line. I must get to the bottom of this mystery before I, too, am overtaken by it.

BRIGITTE LeGRANDE: I am Brigitte LeGrande. I grew up with Antoine and his brother. Many years ago I loved the brother (though it was not reciprocated), but I was merely a child. It has been a great many years since that was true but Antoine has not realized how things have changed. Out of respect for his brother’s memory, he resists seeing me as more than a friend. Still, I am patient. I am smart. I will help him deal with this, oh so ridiculous, curse. Then, we shall see what we shall see.

CASTING SHEETS — MINOR 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.

GAVROSH: I am a boy, full of mischief and fun, but now frightened beyond words by the events surrounding me. My sister has been lost and I am so very, very afraid that I will be next.

CHARLES: I am motivated by an intense hatred for the House Du Valier.  I will not rest until every last member of the male line has been wiped from the face of the earth. I do not care what I must do.  I do not care how long it takes.  I will kill them all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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, 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.

You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com.

Don’t forget to check out the free sample portions of our titles at https://weirdworldstudios.com/product-category/our-products/.

The Alchemist

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.

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