1.7 God’s Gonna Cut You Down
A PRODUCT OF THE WHISPERFORGE: SOUND AND STORY — BROUGHT TO LIFE.
[SFX: Scrying flame crackling.]
TAU ZAMAN: CARAVAN would not be possible without support from our Lords of Hell!
We’d like to thank Lord Ponders for supporting the team of synchronized swimming spies from the Eighth Circle, their subversive subterfuge-inspired swimming routines famously known for their graceful, elegant movements. When asked why support such a highly niche organization, Lord Ponders simply answered, “The spies must flow.”
We’d like to thank Lord Bradley for bringing out the superhero in all of us. To invoke the powers of Lord Bradley one need simply chant the power words, wham, shazam, thank you ma’am!
We’re eternally grateful to our Lords of Hell for their continued support, and, um, Mercy, I guess.
[MUSIC: CARAVAN theme vamping.]
TAU ZAMAN: CARAVAN is created for adult audiences only. Our show notes contain content warnings and other helpful info. Welcome back to the Canyon; let’s jump right in—
PREVIOUSLY ON CARAVAN:
CARLYLE: Samir! Look out, the ledge!
SAMIR (VO): And I fall into the vast and bottomless canyon below.
ARGEAUX: I'm going to get all of us out here, just you wait...Caravans kinda help keep the peace around the Canyon, but uh, we hunt...demons, mostly.
DAKOTA: Call me babygirl again, and I’ll shoot your nuts off!
BANSHEE: Your pain is mine now. And mine yours.
MAMA BANG BANG: I knew I couldn’t be the only sonuvabitch awake in this here hick town. Top o’ the noontime to ya, kiddos!
SAMIR (VO): People, just lying on the ground. A few dozen of them...Everybody get your garlic out: we've finally got ourselves a vampire.
[MUSIC: CARAVAN theme.]
[SFX: The Canyon plateau.]
ARGEAUX: (Impressed.) Samir, you are going to make a fine caravaner, have I said that yet?
DAKOTA: None of these fellers got bite marks on 'em.
SAMIR: That part is weird, yeah. But everything else fits. Picks a place where the sun only shines directly inward for a short amount of time per day. Entrances a populace to follow him to his hunting ground, then puts them all to sleep.
DAKOTA: But why?
SAMIR: All sleeping during the day? They can’t all be vampires too.
DAKOTA: Unless someone’s trying to make more of them.
MAMA: Not on my watch; I'll drive a stake through every single one of these baby bloodsuckers if I gotta.
DAKOTA: Damn, Mama, these are your constituents! You've gotten dark.
ARGEAUX: The sun's moving just past the canyon wall. We should keep our guard up. Samir may have pieced together all the right clues but this still feels like highly unusual behavior for a vampire.
[SFX: Mocking applause.]
MIGUEL: Not any kind of vampire you've ever met before, that's for sure.
[MUSIC: Dark guitar – Enter Miguel]
SAMIR (VO): I turn on my heel at the sound of a new voice. Argeaux and Dakota both draw their guns and point it at the voice in unison like a well-oiled machine.
[SFX: They draw their weapons.]
SAMIR (VO): Mama uncoils a long black whip at her waist.
[SFX: Whip crack.]
SAMIR (VO): Shoot, these guys have their battle stances on lock! I kind of shuffle for a bit, trying to figure out what kinda pose I wanna strike before settling on putting up my fists like some meek boxer. In front of us approaches a man in fancy, frilly gear. He emerges from the shadow of the canyon wall like he'd been waiting there a long time and we just hadn't noticed.
As he comes into view, I check him out (naturally). A ruffled white collar, a crimson velvet coat, long white leggings, and knee-high oxblood boots. One white gloved hand, no longer clapping, strokes a slick black goatee, while the other rests sternly behind his straight back as he strides toward us like a schoolteacher administering an exam. His shiny black locks bounce behind him as a stray curl bobs at his temple.
ARGEAUX: Can't even wait for nighttime, eh? Your kind are getting bold, bloodsucker.
MIGUEL: My kind? I'd rather you not lump me in with the rabble. I did just say I'm unlike any vampire you've ever met, remember?
SAMIR: We've got a Gandalf the white on our hands, folks. 'Do not let him speak, or with a word he'll enchant us all!'
DAKOTA: I'm inclined to agree. Say yer prayers, motherfanger!
[SFX: DAKOTA pulls back the hammer on her gun.]
MAMA: Dakota, you drive him away from the trail deeper into the alcove. I'll corner 'im inand stake 'im.
MIGUEL: For what crime?
DAKOTA: (Stumped.) Um. Fer vampirin' that's what!
ARGEAUX: Hold on, Dakota.
MAMA: Boy, have you lost your damn mind?
SAMIR: But she said herself nobody had bite marks on them.
MAMA: Okay so he's letting dinner marinate in the dirt for a while, what's your point?
MIGUEL: I solemnly swear I'm not biting anybody today.
DAKOTA: And we're supposed to believe a vampire?
SAMIR: All right, McDreamy, what's your story then?
ARGEAUX: Oh no, he's enchanted you already?!
DAKOTA: Naw, this is just that slutty soul of his.
SAMIR: He doesn't need to enchant me. Just because someone's hot doesn't mean I can't treat them rationally! He hasn't killed anybody yet that we know of, and I wanna know why!
MIGUEL: Now here's a man of reason. I like that. What's your name, pretty boy?
SAMIR: Uhm. Samir. Nice to meet ya.
ARGEAUX: Oh lord, don't let him flatter you!
SAMIR: And what's your name?
MIGUEL: Well isn't that nice, someone who hasn't forgotten their manners. Miguel Josué Montenegro Mejía. And I'll say I'm the one enchanted for the moment.
DAKOTA: Here we go again.
MAMA: See, now this is why nobody makes it alone. While he's hypnotizing your pal over there, can someone else just at least put a lasso on this guy?
DAKOTA: I’m on it.
SAMIR: Guys chill for a second, I got this! So, Miguel. You haven't hurt anybody here yet, it looks like. Just put them all to sleep. What's your deal?
MIGUEL: I'm sure you saw the rainstorm the other night.
ARGEAUX: We did.
MIGUEL: How do I put this. Ever since it started raining, something has...changed within me.
SAMIR: 'Something is not the same?'
MIGUEL: Exactly. My thirst for blood seemed to be replaced by a far deeper hunger. Tell me, have you ever longed to be so close to someone you couldn't bear to be apart from them? But even holding them in your arms didn't even feel close enough? Like you wanted to get closer even still, close enough to breathe the very same breath as they did?
MAMA: Now what fresh hippie nonsense is this?
SAMIR: ...Yeah. I know what you’re talking about. Something like that. With someone I loved, once.
MIGUEL: I've found myself insatiably hungry for something I can't suck out of them with fangs. My appetite's changed entirely. Suddenly I'm starving for...their...feelings.
DAKOTA: Bull fucking shit, this is some next level hypnosis, Samir, snap out of it!
SAMIR: You're an emotional vampire!
MIGUEL: Yes! That's the word for it!
ARGEAUX: What in Baal's balls is an emotional vampire?!
SAMIR: These things actually exist where I'm from. Tons of 'em. Also known as toxic assholes, fuckbois, you name it.
MIGUEL: I don’t know about that. I merely put this town to sleep! And...fed on their dreams. It's harmless.
DAKOTA: Harmless?! These people have lives you know! And you put all those to a stop!
MIGUEL: I know, I know, I'm sorry! I thought I'd just get my fill and wake them again, but no matter how much I feed on their emotions, it's never enough. Imagine that.
ARGEAUX: So your alibi is that you're nonetheless an abomination.
SAMIR: Guys, hold on a second. Whenever caravans run into these...supernatural creatures, do you just kill them? Or screw them?
DAKOTA: Duh, I told you we'd run into vampires. AND that we'd kill 'em.
SAMIR: Every time? Like, you kill 100% of the vampires you run into?
MAMA: Well...what the hell else are we supposed to do with them?
SAMIR: ‘Cause you said they’re terrible in the sack?!
DAKOTA: And they suck your blood!
MIGUEL: Grim business, don't you think?
SAMIR: You guys don't have like a county jail or something? Or a court system?
DAKOTA: Sis I told you we don't have sheriffs around here! Caravans are busy keeping the peace! We don't have time for justice, too!
SAMIR: Well this caravan's gonna be different.
ARGEAUX: Samir, I fear we’ve given you an all-too-sunny picture of how things work in the Canyon. Idealism is nice and all, but...these are vampires we’re dealing with!
SAMIR: You said it yourself. Things would be different this time, right? You've got me. I'm the wild card.
ARGEAUX: Well yes, I-I did say that..
DAKOTA: So what're you gonna do instead Samir?
SAMIR: Well. Believe it or not Miguel's not the first emotional vampire I've met in my life. I've let a whole bunch feed on me. More than I should have. Trust me.
ARGEAUX: So you're just going to let him feed on you too?!
SAMIR: Banshee told me she needed to feed on people's souls, but then once she took over my body, she didn't need to. She said my soul had this...aura. She said it sustained her.
DAKOTA: Baby boi I warned you about this! You can't just go letting everybody in there!
SAMIR: But if I can help someone, shouldn't I? What's the trade off here? If I can sustain a banshee, maybe I can sustain an emotional vampire. It’s what Evokers do, right? And nobody gets killed. Isn't that worth trying? Look, I’ll even ask. Hey Banshee, you there?
BANSHEE: [Yawning.] Mmm, I think I was just having my first dream for the first time in centuries. What is it?
MAMA: [To Dakota and Argeaux.] So you’re tellin’ me there’s a banshee in there only he can hear? Marvelous.
SAMIR: I know you’re itching for a fight, but think my, uh, soul’s got enough aura for another guest?
BANSHEE: How does one describe it, it’s like...sitting around a fire. Having someone else there doesn’t make it any less warm. [Coming to a realization.] Ah! Will I be having guests?
SAMIR: I think you might be. Just wish me luck.
BANSHEE: [Cooing with joy.]
ARGEAUX: Yes, amigo. I really have to advise against this. What you're planning is—
SAMIR: I want you to come inside me.
MAMA Oh god I think I'm gonna faint.
[ARGEAUX and DAKOTA break into uproarious laughter.]
MIGUEL: Now I've been invited in many times but never quite like that!
SAMIR: No, not like that way. What I mean is, how Banshee did it. Come into my mouth!
ARGEAUX: Hermano, can we watch our phrasing please?!
SAMIR: No, I mean...if you can find a way to attach yourself to my soul, maybe it'll fix your hunger too.
MIGUEL: You know...there's nobody in the Canyon I've ever met quite like you. Are you sure about this?
SAMIR: Not at all! But also like, hell yea? I'm sure enough? What's the best way to do this bonding business. You gonna bite me?
MIGUEL: I've been out of practice for a while, but short of...other far more intimate methods, yes, I think biting would be best.
ARGEAUX: You can't let him bite you, Samir! You'll turn into a vampire yourself!
SAMIR: Psh. Details, details. I can handle it.
DAKOTA: Samir, we can't let you do this. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into. Becoming a vampire is changing everything you are. It's crazy. You could die. People in the Canyon will *hunt* you.
ARGEAUX: People even more trigger happy than Dakota, if you can believe it!
MAMA: People like me, for starters.
SAMIR: Not so long ago I wasn't even human anymore. I became...supernatural, right? What's one more change? What did you call them, Argeaux? Adaptations?
ARGEAUX: No! This is too dangerous. We won't allow it. This ain’t no adaptation, this is anarchy! Where's your sense of self-preservation, boy?!
SAMIR: I'll be honest with you: never had one. Probably never will. I'd much rather do something for the story, I think.
SAMIR (VO): Can I be real for a second? I'm fucking terrified. I keep feeling like I'm losing control of myself, like there's another me deep inside me taking over, one that says things and does things before I even realize I've decided to act. Sometimes I feel myself pulled towards dangerous things just to...feel something, you know? And that's not something Argeaux and Dakota will ever understand. But, this whole thing's a dream anyway, right? If I can float with a banshee inside me, how in the world am I going to turn down getting bitten by a smokin' hot vampire?
ARGEAUX: Mama, you gotta stop him!
MAMA: [Relenting.] …Well. If anyone can survive it, it's an evoker.
DAKOTA: Mama, you can't be serious!
SAMIR: Can we just skip to the last Twilight book already?
MIGUEL: You're really going to let me bite you. Just like that?
SAMIR: I mean, if you could focus on noshing on my soul and maybe go lighter on the blood, that'd be dope. But I'm going into this with realistic expectations.
ARGEAUX: You're going in with anything but!
SAMIR: On one condition though.
MIGUEL: Anything. If it sates this hunger in me: I'll do anything.
SAMIR: Mama's right. I'll be a liability as a vampire. At least for a little while. IF I turn into one at all. I'll need someone to show me the ropes.
MIGUEL: You want training.
SAMIR: On retainer. This isn't a crash course. You're coming with me. With us. And you're protecting our caravan. Got it?
DAKOTA: Dang, now that is a win-win bargain if I ever saw one.
ARGEAUX: ...You surprise me every hour of every day, Samir.
SAMIR: Do we have a deal?
MIGUEL: I-yes...we have a deal then. How do we, erm, consummate our...contract?
SAMIR: How's right now sound?
MIGUEL: [Huskier.] That sounds just fine.
[MUSIC: Dread and excitement.]
SAMIR (VO): Without another moment's hesitation, Miguel descends on me. Argeaux and Dakota both start to move for a second, instinctively rushing to defend me. But they fight back their urge and freeze up, watching us instead. Mama has her hands on her hips now. I can't tell if she's sad or disapproving or just fascinated. Maybe all of the above. But these guys are all larger than life. I'm gonna have to be too, if I wanna keep up with them. If I wanna survive in the Canyon. I don't wanna be some blank slate protagonist. I wanna make moves. I wanna matter. I wanna make my own choices, not let some hand of god pick what's best for me. And if that means taking rides on the wild side, hey, why not? ...But even I startle a little bit as he puts his arms around my back and draws me in. He's hungry alright.
[SFX: CHOMP. Blood throbbing through veins. SAMIR winces in pain.]
SAMIR (VO): Holy smokes, those fangs are deep. Miguel didn't go right into my neck, but mercifully into my shoulder instead. Or maybe because it's closer to my heart. I don't know, but his canines pierce straight through my shirt and bury themselves in my skin. I feel my breath catch in my chest. My heart pumps faster and faster like it’s in emergency mode. I keep breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, trying to slow it down.The sky’s light above us goes even dimmer for a moment, then shadows rush across my vision like clouds are moving in a fast-forwarded tape. It feels like the sun is traveling in a timelapse or something. I've lost sense of time. How long has he been feeding on me? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? I have no idea. From time to time his long wet tongue laps at the wound to keep too much blood from spilling out and when it runs over the opening where his teeth sank in, fuck, it feels...incredible. Like pressing on a hickie. My knees go weak and I want to fall backward. But I just go limp as Miguel holds me upright.
[SFX: A moan from Banshee]
SAMIR (VO): I feel Banshee moving around inside me. It's like she's squishing to make room. Her icy cold presence spreads and thins to make space for a new visitor, an essence I can only describe as...dark, and hungry.
When he's done, his fangs withdraw and he releases me.
[SFX: Samir falling to the ground.]
SAMIR (VO): I can feel a part of him in me now, just like Banshee. I try to catch my breath and it feels like my first inhale in a long time. Hazily I try to meet his gaze and he meets mine in return. His lips curl in a bloody smirk. He looks...horny. Hot. But when our eyes lock it feels like...remembering something. It feels like remembering a part of your body you forgot until you hurt it somehow, like your funny bone. Like he's always been in here.
[MUSIC: Samir’s soul expands.]
MIGUEL: It's...it's gone. The hunger. It's gone. Are you...are you well?
DAKOTA: Let him go, you sleaze. If anything else happens to Samir I will put a hole in your heart faster than you can blink. And you can bet I stocked up on wooden bullets too.
SAMIR: I'm fine. I’m fine. I just feel like...there's two Miguels? One out here and one...in me.
MIGUEL: I...I can't thank you enough! It's gone, it's really gone. No thirst for blood, no hunger for emotion. What even makes a vampire, if not lust? I...do not know. But now, I can at least begin to ask. For that, I am eternally grateful.
ARGEAUX: Well you'll have all the time in the world to find out while you protect us. In our caravan.
DAKOTA: A deal's a deal. Besides, I want you close by to kill you if you start gettin’ peckish for second helpings.
MAMA: I'm comin' along too, just in case.
DAKOTA: [Ecstatic.] Mama, you'll really join our caravan again?!
MAMA: Something's not right. This is all going a little too well, don't you think? We start gettin’ all these rainstorms and suddenly our vampire pal ain't even a vampire no more?
ARGEAUX: Samir, how do you feel?
SAMIR: Weak, but I'll be alright. When do I start getting fangs, Jedi mind trick powers, and —ooh! — an ectomorphic physique?
ARGEAUX: I have no idea if evokers can transform themselves. But vampirism takes time. It's not instantaneous.
MIGUEL: I pray you'll never have to hunger as I have. Who knows, maybe the rain changed that for all vampires, present and future.
KERBEROS: [Distant.] Arf arf!
MAMA: The hell is that?
SAMIR (VO): I don't know if it's the blood loss but I think I'm seeing things. It looks like a pug running down the trail straight towards us!
KERBEROS: (Approaches, panting)
DAKOTA: Oh my god, look at that beautiful thing! Hey sweetie, how are you, little cutie pie!
ARGEAUX: Hey little guy. Mama, you got a treat or something?
MAMA: Hm, I might have some pit demon jerky in here somewhere, let's see...
[SFX: MAMA rustles through a pack at her hip.]
MAMA: Aw, Here you go!
KERBEROS: (gobbles it up.)
SAMIR: Aw, look at him! He's adorable! How did such a cute thing survive in the Canyon this long?
[SFX: A portal opens, and VIRGYL enters.]
VIRGYL: How indeed. That dumb oaf would jump right into the jaws of an ogre without someone keeping an eye out for him.
SAMIR (VO): It's him. The suited man from my dream.
ARGEAUX: It's been a while.
VIRGYL: Why hello, handsome. Did you miss me?
DAKOTA: Not as much this little doggo missed Auggy apparently.
KERBEROS: (Snorts and wheezes, rolling around. Walks up to Samir, licks his face.)
SAMIR (VO): The cutest little pug in the world starts running around my leg in circles. I scoop him up and he licks my face immediately.
DAKOTA: Aw, he likes you too, Samir!
VIRGYL: That's because he's stupid. Kerberos, get back here right this instant.
MAMA: What nightmarish machinations are you up to these days?
VIRGYL: Well excuse me! Am I being detained or am I free to go?
MAMA: Answer the question, asshole.
VIRGYL: Can't I even walk a dog in the upper circles without law enforcement sticking their head up my toned behind? My goodness…
SAMIR (VO): Miguel inches closer to me and tries to whisper in my ear.
MIGUEL: My prince, I know you're hurting but you may want to stand tall. This one can smell weakness.
SAMIR (VO): I nod and try to look as serious as I can with a pug lapping at my face. Argeaux, Dakota, and Mama Bang Bang slowly shift into battle formation too.
VIRGYL: Oh, you've made some friends. You there, thanks so much for picking up my puppy. Now...can I have him back?
[MUSIC: CARAVAN theme.]
CARAVAN was created by me, Tau Zaman, and produced by Mischa Stanton and me.
This episode was written and directed by yours truly, with performances by
Sushant Adlakha as Samir
Giancarlo Herrera as Argeaux
Danielle Shemaiah as Dakota
Lisette Alvarez as Banshee
Mama Bang Bang, as herself
Bernardo Cubria, as Miguel,
And Tau Zaman as Virgyl.
Sound editing by Pacific Obadiah. Sound design by Mischa Stanton & Anna Rodriguez. Our theme music is by Evan Cunningham. Additional music by Mischa Stanton and Travis Reaves. Visual art by Marina Vermillion. Press kit by Kyle Boyce.
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Episode 8 goes live in two weeks, on May 17th. Thanks for riding with us. y’all come back soon now. :)