Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Lights Out
Show: Little Old Lady
Date: Nov 17 1937

CAST:

LONA ... college girl vacationing with
ALICE ... who is taking her to meet
"AUNT" HARRIET ... a mysterious old lady
THE SHERIFF
A DEPUTY
AN OLD MAN
1ST CAT
2ND CAT

VOICE:

Lights Out, everybody!

TWELVE CHIMES - WIND UP ON NINTH - ALL OUT WITH

GONG

FADEIN SOUND OF AUTOMOBILE, FADE DOWN AND CONTINUING FAR, FAR BACK, BEHIND:

LONA:

Alice?

ALICE:

Huh?

LONA:

Do you think we're still in the United States?

ALICE:

I'm beginning to doubt it.

LONA:

Are you sure you got the right address?

ALICE:

Of course!

LONA:

Well, don't be so dogmatic. You have made mistakes!

ALICE:

Sounds as if you're starting to get annoyed.

LONA:

Well, I am! We've been driving so long, my back feels as if somebody were doing a "Big Apple" on it.

ALICE:

Oh, we'll be there soon enough!

LONA:

You know, Alice, sometimes that good nature of yours makes me good and tired!

ALICE:

You sound as if you want to quarrel.

LONA:

I'm sorry. It's just that - well, I looked forward to this vacation for weeks - and now that it's happening - well, it isn't so much fun!

ALICE:

Oh, wait till you get to my aunt Harriet's! You can curl up in the alfalfa and sleep for days!

LONA:

Sleep! Ah, that's a lovely word. Just imagine - sleeping as long as you want without having to worry about making an eight o'clock class or getting up early enough to write the theme paper you should have written the night before if you hadn't been out on a date! I tell you it'll be wonderful!

ALICE:

Perfect!

LONA:

But are you sure you know where your Aunt Harriet lives?

ALICE:

(LAUGHS AMUSEDLY) I've run out of synonyms for "of course I do"!

LONA:

I just like to reassure myself. I certainly hope she has soft beds!

ALICE:

I'm sure she has!

LONA:

What makes you so sure? You told me yourself you hadn't seen her for ten years! Beds can get awful lumps in that time!

ALICE:

Idiot!

LONA:

And that reminds me - you did send her that letter that we're coming?

ALICE:

No --

LONA:

Say that again!

ALICE:

No! I didn't send the letter!

LONA:

You - you mean to say that she doesn't even know that we're coming to stay with her?

ALICE:

Well, I decided that it would be more fun if we sort of surprised her.

LONA:

Well, of all the brain storms! Walking in on somebody you haven't seen for ten years and expecting her to welcome you!

ALICE:

She's my only aunt, isn't she?

LONA:

But - but maybe she won't have room for us!

ALICE:

Don't be silly! I told you Aunt Harriet lives alone and likes it!

LONA:

Well, maybe she won't like it if we barge in on her!

ALICE:

Don't be silly! Of course we'll be welcome! From what I've heard, she's a little old darling!

LONA:

When you were eight, she was a darling! For all you know, she's taken the welcome mat in years ago!

ALICE:

(LAUGHINGLY) Oh!

LONA:

Wait a minute! Didn't you say we were supposed to go down Camden Road three miles?

ALICE:

Yes.

LONA:

Then you are lost! That sign back there - this isn't Camden Road!

ALICE:

You're silly!

LONA:

I saw it with my own eyes - it said Pig-Snackle Road!

ALICE:

(LAUGHING UNBELIEVINGLY) Oh!

LONA:

I tell you it's true!

ALICE:

(LAUGHINGLY) There ain't no such place, gal!

LONA:

Wait - there's another sign up ahead! Slow down!

ALICE:

All right!

AUTO EFFECT DOWN EVEN MORE

LONA:

(TRIUMPHANTLY) See that? Pig-Snackle Road! You are wrong!

ALICE:

(GURGLING WITH LAUGHTER) Pig-Snackle Road! That's too good to be true!

LONA:

Are you crazy - laughing at a name of a place when you haven't got any idea where you are, and my back's breaking, and if I don't get some rest and something to eat pretty soon, I'm going to --

ALICE:

(INTERRUPTING) All right, all right, save the speeches! We'll ask that old man there by the side of the road!

LONA:

Huh? Oh, he doesn't look as if he knows where he is himself!

AUTO SLOWING DOWN AND STOPPING BEHIND:

ALICE:

(AFTER CAR STOPS COMPLETELY) (UP) I beg your pardon!

OLD MAN:

(FADE IN SLOWLY) Talkin' to me, miss?

ALICE:

Yes, could you tell me where we are?

OLD MAN:

Why, this here's Pig-Snackle Road! Anybody knows that!

LONA:

Yeah, we know it, too! What we mean is, could you tell us if we're near the house of Mrs. - a - what's her name, Alice?

ALICE:

Miss Harriet Saugus!

LONA:

Yes, that's it - could you tell us where Miss Harriet Saugus lives?

OLD MAN:

(HIS VOICE GOES TENSE) Who'd ya say?

ALICE:

Miss Harriet Saugus, Capital S - a - u - g - u - s. Do you happen to know where she lives?

OLD MAN:

(FRIGHTENEDLY) Me - I don't know nothin' 'bout nothin'! (FADE) Nothin'!

LONA:

Well! How do you like those apples?

ALICE:

Of all the discourteous people!

LONA:

Turned and dashed into the woods like a jackrabbit with a game leg!

ALICE:

I - I don't understand why he should act so strangely....

LONA:

Nothing strange about it! We're so badly lost that we're back in the country where men are men and (IMITATES OLD MAN) "Don't know nothin' about nothin'!"

AUTOMOBILE STARTING OFF

ALICE:

(THROUGH ABOVE EFFECT) We might as well go on!

LONA:

Yeah! You mean turn right around and go back to school again!

ALICE:

Don't be silly! I'm sure that we'll find - (UP EXCITEDLY) There! There it is!

LONA:

There's what? The edge of the world?

ALICE:

No, the cross road! The entrance to Aunt Harriet's place ought to be just a little beyond!

LONA:

That's what you say!

ALICE:

Yes! There it is! We turn here!

AUTOMOBILE TURNING AT RATHER HIGH SPEED SO THAT IT CREAKS AS IT GOES AROUND THE CURVE

LONA:

Hey, wait a minute! What are you trying to do - turn over?

ALICE:

(HAPPILY) It won't be long now!

LONA:

(JERKILY) You're telling me! This is no road - it's a cow path!

ALICE:

Oh, Aunt Harriet likes privacy! I remember Dad and Mother used to say that!

LONA:

(BOUNCING AROUND) Aw! That bump didn't do my spine any good! Slow down, will you - take it easy!

ALICE:

Oh, all right - but you're the one who wanted me to go faster so that you'd get to a bed!

LONA:

Another hundred feet on this road and I won't need a bed - I'll need a stretcher! Come on - slow down before --

LOUD REPORT, BACK SLIGHTLY AS TIRE BLOWS OUT - AUTOMOBILE PULLS TO A STOP

LONA:

I knew it! What a road - even the tires couldn't take it!

ALICE:

(LAUGHINGLY) What do we care? Aunt Harriet's place is just a little ways down - we'll walk!

LONA:

You mean leave the car right here in the middle of the road?

ALICE:

It's Aunt Harriet's own private road - no one'll bother it! Come on - take your bag and let's get out of here!

LONA:

All right - I'm just a stooge!

SOUND OF DOORS OPENING

ALICE:

Come on - let's go - we'll be just in time for dinner!

LONA:

That's what you think!

ALICE:

What do you mean?

LONA:

I mean maybe your Aunt Harriet doesn't like guests who walk in just like that!

ALICE:

Don't be silly! Come on, hurry!

LONA:

Listen - if that flivver of yours couldn't make time down this road, you certainly don't expect me to! Carrying suitcases - what a vacation!....Hey, Alice, now what are you stopping for?

ALICE:

(A LITTLE UNCERTAINLY) I - I just noticed...

LONA:

Noticed what?

ALICE:

How - how dark it's getting...

LONA:

So what? Come on - When the sun starts setting, it gets dark - I learned that in Physical Science 1-O-1.

ALICE:

But - but back there on the road it was so light - and here it's so - so dark and gloomy....

LONA:

What's the matter with you? Are you gonna take your suitcase and come on - or are you going to stand there being afraid of the dark?

ALICE:

I'm all right...

LONA:

So many trees around here - no wonder it's dark! If that Aunt Harriet of yours wants privacy, she sure's got it! And I hope when we get there I'll have the same privacy for about twenty-four hours while I sleep in a nice old feather bed until --

ALICE:

(SUDDENLY INTERRUPTING) Lona!

LONA:

Now what?

ALICE:

Look at that mist - coming up through the trees!

LONA:

Yeah.

ALICE:

Like long white curling fingers...

LONA:

Cut that out, will you? It's - it's just that it's getting late - colder - moisture's condensing! Oh, will we ever get there! Riding - and walking - Have you actually got an Aunt Harriet? Come on, let's go back to the car! Let's go back to the main road! Let's do something! I'm sick and tired of wondering and walking --

ALICE:

(INTERRUPTING - HAPPILY) Wait, Lona! There it is!

LONA:

Huh?

ALICE:

That house - that must be Aunt Harriet's house!

LONA:

Hallelujah! It is a house! Well, it's about time! (FADE FAST) It's about time.....

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE - SHORT

FADE IN SOUND OF KNOCKING ON HEAVY DOOR CONTINUING BEHIND:

LONA:

Knock harder, Alice! Knock harder!

ALICE:

I can't - hurts my knuckles!

LONA:

Oh, let me!

LOUDER KNOCKING CONTINUING

ALICE:

She - she must be home! There is a light upstairs!

LONA:

And you were going to surprise her, eh?

ALICE:

But she never leaves this place!

LONA:

Go on - you don't even know that she lives here!

KNOCKING STOPS

LONA:

A fine business! Car with a flat - stuck in the middle of nowhere - nobody home in this God-forsaken place - and me so tired I could sleep standing on my head!

ALICE:

But she must be home!

LONA:

You're repeating yourself! Oh, if this is a vacation, then I'm a --

SOUND OF BOLT BEING PULLED BACK FROM DOOR, BACK DYING ABOVE

ALICE:

Wait! There's someone at the door!

LONA:

Yes?

DOOR OPENING SQUEAKILY AND SLOWLY A FEW INCHES

AUNT HARRIET:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) - (SHE HAS AN OLD CRACKED VOICE) Yes? What do you want?

ALICE:

I'm - I'm looking for - I mean, are you Miss Saugus?

AUNT HARRIET:

Yes, yes! What do you want?

ALICE:

(HAPPILY) Then you are Aunt Harriet!

LONA:

(SOTTO) Hallelujah again!

AUNT HARRIET:

Who's calling me Aunt Harriet? Who, I say? Who are you?

ALICE:

Why, I'm Alice! Alice Preston!

DOOR OPENING FULL BUT SQUEAKILY

AUNT HARRIET:

(IN A LITTLE CLOSER) Alice! Oh, yes, yes, bless my soul, I know you! Come in! - Come in!

LONA:

(SOTTO) Hallelujah! We're here!

AUNT HARRIET:

(FADE) Come in! Come in! Close the door!

SOUND OF CLOSING DOOR

ALICE:

Oh, Aunt Harriet, you don't know how glad I am to see you! Did we have a time getting here!

AUNT HARRIET:

Yes - yes. (OFF) Come right in here - right in here!

ALICE:

(SOTTO) There, Lona! I told you we'd be welcome!

LONA:

She didn't even ask who I was!

AUNT HARRIET:

(VERY AFFABLY) Now put your things down here and sit down and make yourself comfortable!

ALICE:

Aunt Harriet, this is my girl friend, Lona Stevens. We room together at the University, and I asked her to come along with me because I thought --

AUNT HARRIET:

(INTERRUPTING) It's all right, my child, it's all right! Anyone's welcome! Anyone at all!

LONA:

That's very kind of you - er - Aunt Harriet. I hope you won't mind my calling you that but Alice always calls you Aunt Harriet, and I thought that --

AUNT HARRIET:

(INTERRUPTING) There, my child, it's all right! A name's a name! Now sit here and be comfortable - (FADE) I'll get some tea - yes, yes - nice tea...

ALICE:

(UP) But Aunt Harriet!

DOOR BACK

LONA:

(SOTTO) Well! Apparently your Aunt Harriet does what she wants to do!

ALICE:

Doesn't she?...

LONA:

Oh, well, as long as we're here!..

ALICE:

(ALMOST TO SELF) She didn't ask me about anything....

LONA:

Huh?

ALICE:

I - I mean, she didn't ask me about anyone...I mean, that's - that's sort of funny, isn't it? After not having seen any of your relatives for ten years not even to ask about them...

LONA:

Give her time! Give her time! Chances are you'll get all the bag-fest you want over the tea cups!

ALICE:

Yes...I suppose...

LONA:

Like something out of a museum, isn't it?

ALICE:

What?

LONA:

The house - the furnishings - (CHUCKLES) Look at the chairs and that sofa! Are they prehistoric or are they prehistoric?

ALICE:

I - I didn't think she was so old...

LONA:

Old? Oh, you mean your aunt?

ALICE:

Yes....

LONA:

Oh, well! After all - ten years - living alone out in this God-forsaken place! But I sort of think she's nice!

ALICE:

Do you.....

LONA:

Taking us right in - and not asking us all sorts of silly questions. That's the kind of a relative to have! You know if I were to go barging in on any of mine, first they'd give me a third degree on how come I was away from school, and then they'd give me another third degree on how long I was going to stay, and then they'd --

ALICE:

(IN A LOW TENSE VOICE INTERRUPTING) Lona!

LONA:

What's the matter?

ALICE:

Back there in the shadows - what -

LONA:

I don't --

ALICE:

Something moving --

LONA:

Why - it's a dog!

ALICE:

Oh?

FAINT MEOW OF CAT FAR BACK

LONA:

(IN GREAT AMAZEMENT) Why, no! It's - it's a cat!

ALICE:

(UNBELIEVINGLY) Cat? But it can't be!

LONA:

Big as a police dog!

ALICE:

We - we're not seeing things?

LONA:

So dark there-- I can't quite make out --

CAT MEOWS AGAIN, FAR BACK - A SULLEN SORT OF SOUND

ALICE:

(AGHAST) It is a cat!

LONA:

(IN TERROR) Not a cat! Tiger!

ALICE:

Lona, what'll we do?

LONA:

Don't move! If we do, it'll --

DOOR OPENS, BACK

AUNT HARRIET:

(IN FAST) Now here's your tea, young ladies - nice warm tea - just what you need....

ALICE:

(IN TENSE HORROR) Aunt Harriet...

AUNT HARRIET:

What's the matter? What -

CAT MEOWS FAR BACK AS BEFORE

AUNT HARRIET:

(UNDERSTANDINGLY) Oh! He's frightened you!

ALICE:

What - what is it?

AUNT HARRIET:

(SHARPLY) You've got eyes, haven't you?

ALICE:

Yes, but --

LONA:

It's so dark in that corner we can't hardly tell! (LAUGHS) It's - it's not a tiger, is it?

AUNT HARRIET:

(SHARPLY) Don't talk nonsense!

ALICE:

Well, what is it?

AUNT HARRIET:

He shouldn't be here at all! It's much too early for Him!

ALICE:

Aunt Harriet, didn't you hear me? I asked you what it is.

AUNT HARRIET:

(IRRITABLY) What do you think he is?

ALICE:

It - It can't be a cat!

LONA:

Why, he's as big as a police dog!

AUNT HARRIET:

All right, all right, come upstairs! I'll show you to your rooms!

LONA:

There can't be a cat that size!

AUNT HARRIET:

This way! (FADE) This way! I'll show you to your rooms!

ALICE:

But, Aunt Harriet --

AUNT HARRIET:

(SHARPLY) Come along I say! Up these stairs!

LONA:

Come on, Alice!

ALICE:

But why does she --

LONA:

Come on - we better do as she says!

SOUND OF THREE WOMEN GOING UPSTAIRS SLOWLY CONTINUING BEHIND:

AUNT HARRIET:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) Must be tired, you two...sleep, that's what you need...sleep....

ALICE:

But, Aunt Harriet, how could it be a cat --

AUNT HARRIET:

We'll talk no more about it! We'll talk no more about it now!

SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS OUT

AUNT HARRIET:

(OFF) Tomorrow! Yes, we'll talk about that tomorrow! Tomorrow morning!

DOOR OPENING, BACK SLIGHTLY

AUNT HARRIET:

(BACK) In here, my dears! In here!

LONA:

(SOTTO) Come on, Alice!

ALICE:

But why doesn't she answer me...

AUNT HARRIET:

(IN FULL) There, you see - a very comfortable room for you to rest in - nice wide bed - everything clean. (FADE SLOWLY) You'll get a nice rest here, yes, you will! Fine rest!

CLOSING DOOR BEHIND

ALICE:

But Aunt Harriet! Wait! I want to find out --

LONA:

Oh, forget it, Alice! Whatever it is, you can find out in the morning!

ALICE:

But that cat --

LONA:

Oh, cat! Cat! Can't you say anything but cat?

ALICE:

It was so huge --

LONA:

Huge nothing!

ALICE:

What?

LONA:

We just imagined it, that's all! I mean, there in the shadows it looked monstrous! You heard it - it sounded just like an ordinary tom-cat!

ALICE:

But I saw...

LONA:

You didn't see any more than I saw and I think it was just a long shadow that got us fooled, that's all!

ALICE:

(SLOWLY) Yes...that could be it, couldn't it?

LONA:

Of course! You remember in Psych 1-O-1 class, old Pudgy-wudgy told us about the tricks your eyes play in bad light when it comes to judging size!

ALICE:

I remember - local signs they called it!

LONA:

Right! Well, that's the way it was with that cat! (LAUGHS) I'll bet your Aunt Harriet thinks we're screwy - that's why she got us up here to bed in a hurry! (SIGHS) Bed - isn't that a wonderful word? And will we sleep!

ALICE:

(DOUBTFULLY) I - I hope so.... (FADE) I hope so...

BEGIN TO FADE IN TICK-TICKING OF CLOCK WITH ABOVE FADE, HOLD FOR A FEW SECONDS AS TRANSITION, THEN FADE DOWN AND OUT BEHIND

ALICE:

(SOFTLY - DOUBTFULLY) L - Lona...

LONA:

Huh?

ALICE:

You're not sleeping either, are you?

LONA:

Nope...

ALICE:

I - I wanted to talk to you for hours, but I wasn't sure...

LONA:

I thought you were asleep...

ALICE:

Somehow, I - I can't....

LONA:

Me neither...

ALICE:

I - I can't understand why...

LONA:

I'm the one who was crying how tired I was.

ALICE:

Bed so comfortable...

LONA:

House is quiet enough...

ALICE:

The house...

LONA:

Huh?

ALICE:

Maybe that's why we can't sleep...

LONA:

What do you mean?

ALICE:

There's - there's something about the house....

LONA:

Wha--

ALICE:

Something....oppressive...that won't let us sleep.

LONA:

(WITHOUT A GREAT DEAL OF ASSURANCE) You're crazy!

ALICE:

No, I'm not...

LONA:

It's just that - that we're too tired to sleep, that's all! Yes, that's it! Too tired - nerves on edge!

ALICE:

I've been lying here for hours trying to figure it out, now I know...

LONA:

Will you stop talking like that?

ALICE:

Don't you feel it, Lona? Don't you?

LONA:

Well, I --

ALICE:

Tell the truth - you do feel it! It's - it's something heavy in the air - pressing down on us! I'm awfully frightened, Lona - awfully!

LONA:

Well, you're not going to frighten me! Why - why, this is your own Aunt Harriet's house! She's down there - sleeping and she --

HUGE CAT SUDDENLY WAILS, FAR BACK

LONA & ALICE:

(CRY OUT IN FRIGHT)

CAT WAILS AGAIN, FAR BACK

ALICE:

(IN TENSE TERROR) That - that cat!

LONA:

Yeah!

CAT WAILS AGAIN

ALICE:

It - it sounds huge, doesn't it?

LONA:

(WHISTLING IN THE DARK) That's because it's so quiet in the house...

ANOTHER CAT - HUGE IN SIZE FROM ITS SOUND - JOINS THE FIRST CAT IN AN INTERMITTENT CATERWALLING DUET - IT IS APPARENT FROM THE QUALITY OF THEIR CRIES THAT A FIGHT IS IMMINENT - CAUTION SHOULD BE USED THAT THIS DOES NOT BECOME A CAT-FIGHT BURLESQUE - I SUGGEST THAT THE HISSES AND SPITTINGS BE CUT OUT - IN OTHER WORDS, ONE CAT WAILS AND THE OTHER CAT ANSWERS - THIS CONTINUES INTERMITTENTLY BEHIND

ALICE:

Lona! There's another one!

LONA:

Ssh!

ALICE:

I tell you there's two of them!

CAT SOUNDS INCREASE IN TEMPO

ALICE:

Lona, listen to them! They're not ordinary cats! Listen to them!

LONA:

(VERY TENSELY) They - they can't be cats!

ALICE:

I'll call Aunt Harriet! She'll tell me! (FADE) She'll make them stop!

CATS BEGIN A TREMENDOUS FIGHT, FAR BACK

LONA:

Alice! Wait! Don't go out there, you little fool!

ALICE:

Aunt Harriet! I've got to --

LONA:

Get away from that door! Listen to those things down there! Listen to them!

HORRIBLE FIGHT OF THE CATS CONTINUES FOR A FEW SECONDS BEHIND:

ALICE:

No, no! I can't stand any more of it! (UP) Aunt Harriet! Aunt Harriet, make them stop! (UP DRAWN OUT IN GREAT TERROR) Aunt Harriet!

WITH THE CRY OF "AUNT HARRIET" THE CAT CRIES CUT OFF KNIFE-CLEAN - THERE'S A FEW SECONDS TENSE SILENCE, THEN:

LONA:

(IN HUSHED VOICE) They've - they've gone!...

ALICE:

(RATHER WEEPILY) What - what were they?

LONA:

Could two cats make all that noise?

ALICE:

(UP) Aunt Harriet! Why don't you come in here?

LONA:

No, no, Alice! Don't open that door!

ALICE:

But Aunt Harriet - why doesn't she answer me? She must know what it's all about! Why doesn't she --

LONA:

(INTERRUPTING SHARPLY) Wait!

ALICE:

What?

LONA:

Listen!

SOFT PADDED SOUND OF SOMETHING COMING UP THE STAIRS VERY SLOWLY IS HEARD FADING IN

PLAY FOLLOWING VERY SLOWLY BUILDING UP TENSION

ALICE:

Someone's coming up the stairs!

LONA:

Yes!

ALICE:

My - my Aunt Harriet?

LONA:

It - it's not quite like footsteps...

ALICE:

(IN CLOSE IN A TERROR-STRICKEN WHISPER) The cat!

LONA:

Maybe...

ALICE:

The - the door...

LONA:

Cats....can't.....open doors....

SOFT FOOT-PADS COME IN CLOSE AND STOP

ALICE:

It - it's right outside the door...

LONA:

I can hear, can't I?

ALICE:

Is it...a cat?

LONA:

(ALMOST SHARPLY) Of course it is!

ALICE:

You...you don't think so either, do you?

LONA:

It - it's just sitting there...

ALICE:

Yes...

LONA:

(SHARPLY) Let it sit there!

ALICE:

I'm - I'm so afraid...

LONA:

When morning comes we'll get out of here!

ALICE:

(UP) Aunt Harriet! Aunt Harriet, why don't you answer me?

LONA:

Oh, stop that!

ALICE:

(UP CALLING) There's - there's something outside our door, Aunt Harriet! We - we don't know what it is!

LONA:

What's the use of calling her? She won't answer you!

ALICE:

Why do you say that?

LONA:

Because she hasn't answered us, and she won't!

ALICE:

But she's in the house! She must know --

LONA:

Wait!

FADEIN SCRATCHING SOUND OF ANIMAL'S CLAWS AT DOOR JAMB

ALICE:

(SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH)

LONA:

(TENSELY) Trying...to get in...

ALICE:

As - as long as the door's shut...

LONA:

We - we're safe enough...

ALICE:

(CALLS) Aunt Harriet! Please wake up, Aunt Harriet!

LONA:

(GASPS SUDDENLY) No!

ALICE:

What --

LONA:

Look! The doorknob! It's turning!

ALICE:

(GREAT GASP OF HORROR)

LONA:

Alice, listen! Cats can't open doors!

ALICE:

You mean - you mean, Aunt Harriet? (HOPEFULLY) Yes! It must be Aunt Harriet!

LONA:

She's ill and she's trying to open the door! (FADE) I'll open it for her!

ALICE:

No, no! Lona, stay away from that door! I'm afraid! Don't!

LONA:

(BACK) Come right in, Aunt Harriet!

OPENING DOOR BEHIND ABOVE - SLOWLY, SQUEAKILY

LONA:

(GREAT TEARING SCREAM OF HORROR, BACK)

GONG!

FADEIN WIND, AND HOLD BACK, EERILY BEHIND:

ALICE:

(SOBBING PITIFULLY - AFTER A FEW SECONDS SHE BEGINS TO MURMUR WEEPILY TO HERSELF) I've got to get help...I've got to...My arm...I can't stand the pain...I've got to!..The wood's so thick...I'm lost...I'm lost...I've got to get help...Someone's got to help me...(WEEPS HEAVILY FOR A FEW SECONDS) I'll get help for you, Lona! I'll get help!..

WIND HOWLS

ALICE:

(PLAY THIS SLOWLY) It's getting brighter...dawn...if I could only find a path...a road...(WEEPS)...bushes tearing my clothes...Why do you tear my clothes? I just want to get help for Lona! I'll get help for you, Lona! I will! I will!...Trees tearing at me! I can't find my way out! And I've got to! Got to help her! Someone - (SUDDENLY) Ah! A road! Oh, Lona, now I will find help for you! I will!

BEGIN TO FADEIN AUTOMOBILE APPROACHING

ALICE:

(EXCITEDLY) An automobile! (UP) Help! Stop! You've got to stop! Help me! Help! (ETC. AD LIB)

AUTOMOBILE IN CLOSE, STOPPING

ALICE:

(HALF-HYSTERICALLY) Help me! Lona - that terrible cat! Help me! (ETC. AD LIB)

SHERIFF:

(IN FAST) What is it, sister? What's the matter? Who are you?

ALICE:

(AD LIB SEMI-HYSTERICALLY AS ABOVE)

SHERIFF:

(THRU HER HYSTERICAL PLEADING) Now take it easy! Take it easy! Yes, yes, I'll help you! I'm Sheriff of this county!

ALICE:

Hurry! You must help me! Hurry!

SHERIFF:

Now wait a minute! Are you the girls who left that car on the side of the road back in the woods?

ALICE:

Car - car - yes, we left our car there! Oh, hurry! Help me! My friend Lona! It's killing her!

SHERIFF:

(UP) Joe! These are the girls!

JOE:

(BACK) Yeah?

SHERIFF:

Joe there found your car in the woods and we've been looking for you for hours!

ALICE:

Please! Please don't stand there talking! Hurry! We've got to help her!

SHERIFF:

All right, now, sister, you're hysterical - sure we'll help - we'll find your firend! Sure we will! Now tell me -

ALICE:

No, no! Listen to me! It's killing her! Killing her! Oh, why do you stand there?

SHERIFF:

Killing her! Joe! Did you hear what she says?

ALICE:

Hurry! (FADE) Hurry! Hurry...

USE THE WIND AS TRANSITION, FADING DOWN BEHIND:

ALICE:

(FADEIN WEEPILY) Hurry! I beg you! Hurry!

SHERIFF:

All right, now, take it easy, sister! This is the house, ain't it?

ALICE:

Yes! Yes! This is the place!

JOE:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) The old Saugus house!

SHERIFF:

Yeah! Try the door, Joe!

DOOR OPENING, BACK

JOE:

(BACK SLIGHTLY) It's open, Sheriff!

SHERIFF:

Let's go!

ALICE:

Upstairs! She's upstairs!

JOE:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) Nobody down here, Sheriff!

SHERIFF:

All right, let's get up there! I don't know what this is all about, but I'm going to find out!

SOUND OF PEOPLE RUNNING UP STAIRS

ALICE:

(THRU ABOVE) Lona! We're coming for you! We're coming!

SOUND OF FEET UP STEPS OUT

JOE:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) Hey, what room is it, Sheriff?

ALICE:

That room! That room right there! Hurry! It's killing her!

SHERIFF:

Get your gun out, Joe!

JOE:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) The door's partly open!

SHERIFF:

O.K., kick it open! Watch yourself!

THUD OF FOOT ON DOOR - DOOR FLYING OPEN, OFF SLIGHTLY

SHERIFF:

(UP) Careful, Joe!

JOE:

(BACK) Sheriff!

SHERIFF:

Sister, you stay here!

ALICE:

(WEEPILY) Lona!

JOE:

(FADING IN) Sheriff! There's nobody in this room!

SHERIFF:

Huh?

JOE:

Look for yourself!

SHERIFF:

Now what the --

ALICE:

Lona! Lona, where are you?

SHERIFF:

Hey, now, wait a minute, sister, are you sure that --

ALICE:

Yes! Yes, she was right here! It came in the door! Jumped at her! I turned! I ran! I jumped out the window!

JOE:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) Hey, this window ain't broke!

ALICE:

But I tell you I went thru it! See - my arm!

SHERIFF:

(DOUBTFULLY) Yeah, but - but - there's no one here!

JOE:

Yeah, the bed ain't even messed up. Did you say you two were sleeping, sister?

ALICE:

We were! We were! (WEEPILY) Oh, Lona! Lona! Where are you? What has it done with you? (SHARPLY) Aunt Harriet! She'll know! Or has it killed her, too?

JOE:

(BACK) Sheriff! Come quick! Come quick! Bring the girl!

SHERIFF:

Come along, sister!...Joe, what is it?

JOE:

Look in there!

ALICE:

Aunt Harriet!

SHERIFF:

Old lady sitting in the rocker and knitting!

ALICE:

Oh, Aunt Harriet! Lona! Where is she? What happened? Oh, Aunt Harriet, please tell me!

SHERIFF:

Yeah - tell us all!

AUNT HARRIET:

(CALMLY) And might I ask what this is all about?

ALICE:

(IN GREAT SURPRISE) Aunt Harriet! What's the matter? Didn't you hear anything? Lona - that horrible cat-thing! What did it do to her? Answer me - what did it do?

AUNT HARRIET:

And would you gentlemen tell me who is this hysterical young girl?

ALICE:

(AGHAST) Aunt Harriet!

SHERIFF:

Now look here, don't you know who this girl is?

AUNT HARRIET:

I certainly do not!

ALICE:

But Aunt Harriet! I'm Alice! I came here with Lona! Don't you remember?

AUNT HARRIET:

You must be mistaken! I have been alone all night!

SHERIFF:

You hear that, Joe?

JOE:

The girl's off, that's all!

ALICE:

No! No! No! I was here! Lona and I did come here! It's a horrible joke, that's what it is! Aunt Harriet, please! Please tell them you're just joking! Lona - where is she?

AUNT HARRIET:

(SLOWLY - DISTINCTLY) I don't know what you're talking about! I never saw you before in all my life!

ALICE:

No, no! That's not true! Aunt Harriet! Aunt Harriet, why do you say that?

SHERIFF:

(INTERRUPTING SHARPLY) Now wait a minute! Wait a minute! I've had about enough of that out of you, sister! Chasing us up here with all that bunkum about cats as big as dogs and killings and all that! You better come along with us!

ALICE:

No, no! Everything I said to you was true! True! (ETC. AD LIB)

SHERIFF:

Joe, take her other arm!

ALICE:

(STRUGGLING) No, no! Let go of me! Aunt Harriet! Don't let them take me away! Those horrible cat-things! I tell you there were two of them here! Don't let them take me away!

SHERIFF:

Don't mind her, old lady! We'll take care of her!

AUNT HARRIET:

(BEGINNING TO TITTER WITH HORRIBLE GLEE) Yes, yes! Take good care of her! Cracked little thing! (BEGINS TO LAUGH HORRIBLY)

SHERIFF:

Now come on, sister -

ALICE:

(SUDDENLY) No! Wait! Look at her teeth as she laughs! Look at her teeth!

JOE:

Mother in heaven, they're - they're cat's teeth!

THE HORRIBLE LAUGHTER STOPS ABRUPTLY WITH HIS STATEMENT "CAT'S TEETH"

SHERIFF:

And her hands! They're - they're claws!

AUNT HARRIET:

(WITH A SORT OF CAT OVERTONE) No! No! Stay away from me!

SHERIFF:

Grab her, Joe!

JOE:

Stop, you!

AUNT HARRIET:

(AS SHE STRUGGLES IT IS MORE OF A GREAT CAT STRUGGLING THAN A WOMAN - THAT IS, HAVE CAT SOUNDS INTERMINGLED WITH HER HUMAN CRIES OF "LET GO OF ME! ETC.")

SHERIFF:

(IN GREAT PAIN) Clawing my eyes! Get her, Joe! She's getting away!

SHOTS - THREE OF THEM

AUNT HARRIET:

(FAR BACK - GREAT HORRIBLE CAT CRY OF AGONY FOLLOWED BY:

THUD OF BODY ON FLOOR

SHERIFF:

(BREATHING HARD) Joe....

JOE:

Dead...

ALICE:

(WEEPILY) Oh, Aunt Harriet!

SHERIFF:

She's no aunt of anything human, I'll tell you! Look at her!

ALICE:

(DAZEDLY) But - but my Aunt Harriet? Aunt Harriet Saugus?

JOE:

Saugus! Did you hear that, Sheriff?

SHERIFF:

So you came here thinking she was Mrs. Saugus, did you, girl?

ALICE:

(WEEPILY) Yes! Yes, Lona and I! And Lona must be dead now! How could my aunt do what she did? How could she?

SHERIFF:

(SLOWLY) This thing is no aunt of yours, child. Your Aunt Harriet Saugus died in this house three years ago! (IN CLOSE) And she left - two cats!

GONG!

ANNOUNCER:

Lights Out, written especially for radio by Arch Oboler, comes to you each Wednesday from our Chicago studios.