Episode 7: Carlsbad

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Present Day:  

Allison: So I finally convinced Tess to take me somewhere fun for summer! It took forever to get her to agree to leave that tiny dusty room. I was seriously getting cabin fever though so I persuaded her with some gentle hints.

Tess: You mean blackmail?

Allison: Oh, please! Don’t be so dramatic.

Tess: You literally stole the tape recorder and my computer with my family history project on it and hid it. Then said you would leave with them back to Santa Fe if I didn’t take you somewhere fun. I swear just a week ago you were mad at me for not doing my project, now you won’t let me.

Allison: So you are a little more stubborn for regular gentle persuasion… That’s not my fault.

Tess: I hate you

Allison: Liar, don’t pretend you don’t love me, besides you needed to get out too. If you sit around being a lump all summer you won’t have anything fun to tell your schoolmates.

Tess: I don’t talk to those people anyway. Unlike you, I prefer not to make friends I will never see again in adult life.

Allison: Well that’s your problem. I am far from “popular” myself you know.

Tess: mm.

Allison: Just ignore her, she’s just sleep- deprived and bitter.

Tess: Not to mention, driving. You are paying for this trip, right?

Allison: uh…

Tess: I hate you, my poor old Subaru can’t take this stuff.

Allison: But, Tess we are going to Carlsbad Caverns! It will be so much fun! Besides, you can’t get everywhere by bus.

Tess: I guess.

Allison: I see that hint of a smile, come on, don’t lie to me.

(commotion)

Tess: Hey, Stop tickling me while I’m driving, do you want to die before we even get there?

Allison: We will be fine. Anyway, I want some music so, I bid Adieu to this part of the recording.

(recording stops)

(recording begins)

(Commotion)

Tess: Turn it on.

Allison: I got it, I got it. There, it’s going.

Tess: This is a little crazy. Not sure if we are allowed to record down here, but too bad because I’m doing it anyway. We just got down here like 30 minutes ago and something crazy has happened already. A Ranger from a group ahead of us came back and asked us not to go any further. He looked flustered and he had a walkie talkie in his hand.

Allison: I think I heard someone on the walkie talkie say something about the elevator as he was going past us.

Tess: should we go back that way and see what’s up?

Allison: Yeah, let’s go.

(walking)

Tess: Do you think the elevator broke down?

Allison: Maybe, Seems like the most likely thing. Has that happened before?]

Tess: I’m sure it happens all the time, I know they have back up ones too.

Allison: Thank goodness, I definitely don’t want to hike out of here when we are done. Isn’t it like 2 miles or something?

Tess: About 1.5 but yeah, we aren’t prepared for that kind of trek. We don’t even have hiking boots on.

Allison: You grabbed our waters right?

Tess: Yep, no worries there. Besides, I think we are getting ahead of ourselves. I’m sure it won’t come to that.

Allison: yeah…

(voices approaching)

Ranger: Please sir, remain calm we are working on the problem.

Angry Man: Yeah I’d say it’s a problem! My wife needs to get back out of this hole so she can take her medicine. Get this piece of junk moving already!

Ranger:  Sir, I understand that this is a very large inconvenience, however, I cannot fix this problem from my end. My fellow employees are already hard at work to get the elevator moving again. If you will just be patient, we will have you and your wife on your way out very soon.

Angry Man: If she misses her medicine and dies, I’m suing all of you! You personally too!

Tess: Hey, give the girl a break, she obviously can’t fix this. You are angry at the wrong person.

Angry Man: Shut your mouth little girl, this is none of your business!

Tess: Well, maybe if you weren’t yelling to the entire cave you could keep your business private. However, you negated that privilege when you raised your voice.

Angry Man: (inaudible) kids, these days.

Allison: Dang, well done Tess.

Tess: Well he shouldn’t go yelling at people who aren’t the problem. Excuse me Mr… Ranger?  What’s going on with the elevator?

Ranger: Unfortunately, it broke down about 740 ft below the surface.

Allison: Were there people in there?

Ranger: Yes, we believe there were an older woman and 2 young children.

Tess: What about that man, why can’t he and his wife just go up the backup elevator?

Ranger: Unfortunately, those are currently out of service as well, due to maintenance.

Tess: You mean, they let people down here with only one working elevator?!

Ranger: I just work here ma’am. Is that a tape recorder?

(Silence)

Ranger: I’m sorry ma’am but I am going to have to ask you to turn that off immediately.

Allison: Sure thing, sorry. Tess, come on!

(recording stops)

(recording begins)

Tess: This is ridiculous,

Allison: Shhh, they might hear you.

Tess: What, for all they know I’m just talking to you!

Allison: (sighs)

Tess: So I guess we are walking that 1.5 miles out after all.

Allison: Well, I guess the broken elevator isn’t as easy to fix as we thought.

Tess: Apparently.

Allison: At least we aren’t trapped in here, unlike that poor lady and those kids. I mean there is a way out naturally.

Tess: With the way this day is panning out, it will probably be caved in by the time we get there.

Allison: Sheesh, what a little ray of sunshine.

Tess: Hey, I didn’t even want to come on this little excursion

Allison: Fine! Blame me for everything, obviously, this is exactly what I had planned!

(Quiet Walking)

Tess: Hey look, I’m sorry, I know this isn’t your fault. I’m doing the same thing I got mad at that cranky guy for. I don’t mean it. I’m just stressed out. I mean this isn’t really what either of us had planned is it?

Allison: Well I don’t know about you but, I totally planned to come down hundreds of feet below the surface of the earth to hike in my sandals with only a tiny bottle of water to last me the day.

(laughter)

Tess: Anyways, I guess we better give a little back story on what happened. After the Ranger lady asked us to turn the tape recorder off she met up with a few of her ranger buddies and they had a huddle. Then they went and gathered everyone up from the different parts of the caves. Once they had us all in one big irritated group they broke the news to us.

Allison: Apparently, the backup elevators have been out for over a week because one of them failed too. They say that It’s protocol to pull the other out for maintenance when that happens so as to avoid further complication. However, the main elevator had been serviced very recently so the owners decided to leave it in service.  

Tess: Which I think is just a little ridiculous, seeing as how a situation just like the one we are in now could happen, but what do I know.

Allison: Regardless, this left us with no other choice but to begin hiking out. All able-bodied patrons were given orders to start heading out through the natural exit.

Tess: Yes, able-bodied, that’s what we are I guess. That angry guy and his wife stayed behind though because she isn’t healthy enough. Apparently, they are sending one of the other rangers from top side down here with a wheelchair. It’s amazing that they can even get one all the way down here, let alone back out with a person in it.

Allison: ya, I’m just glad I don’t have that job. Can you imagine what that ranger will have to endure from that angry man? He will probably yell about suing him the whole way back up.

Tess: No kidding.

Allison: Shh, the ranger stopped hiking.

Ranger: We will take a brief break here before we proceed. Please feel free to sit and take in the beauty of this natural wonder. I mean that is what you all came here for in the first place right?

(general chuckles)

Tess: Did you hear that?

Allison: What, that terrible attempt at a light-hearted joke?

Tess: No, I heard something weird, like someone’s foot, slipping.

Allison: Everyone is sitting over there, there shouldn’t be anyone else around to have slipped.

Tess: I don’t know I heard something weird and it came from behind us.

Allison: it was probably just a cave sound that got distorted.

Tess: Yeah.

(Noise)

Tess: There it was again, you had to have heard it that time.

Allison: Okay, I heard something that time too. What was that?

Tess: I don’t know…Excuse me Mr. Ranger?

Ranger: Dan,

Tess: What?

Ranger: My name is Dan, What can I do for you ma’am?

Tess: Oh, hi Dan my friend and I keep hearing this weird noise from somewhere behind us. Do you have any idea what could be causing it?

Allison: it’s like a scuffing noise. Like a foot slipping on the rock, but everyone in the group is here right?

Ranger Dan: Yes we did a head count as soon as we stopped. Everyone is accounted for. I’m sure it’s just a normal noise of life. Things tend to get confusing down here especially sound. The natural acoustics twist everything into something menacing when you aren’t used to it.

Woman: Are there any predatory animals down here we should be concerned about?

Ranger Dan: Cave life isn’t very conducive to big animals. So all the predatory animals around here, you could probably squish under your foot.

Woman: What about those bats, this place is so famous for?

Ranger Dan: While they are full of horrible diseases that could cause humans to get sick, they really aren’t much of a threat unless you get bit. Trust me they think you are just as tasty as you think they are. Besides they are all asleep right now. We should be well out of here before they even start to stir this evening.

(scuff)

Allison: There’s that sound was again, what is it?

Tess: I don’t know but I’m starting to get the creeps with all this talk about bats, and that noise behind us. Ranger Dan, can we start moving again?

Ranger Dan: Yes, I think we have had a long enough rest, let’s get this caravan moving again, shall we?

Allison: Turn the recorder off again, I doubt people want to listen to us walk all day.

(recording stops)

(recording begins)

Tess: (Whispering) Oh my gosh. (breathing hard)

I don’t know where Allison is, I got separated from the group. That psycho from this morning ambushed us, he had a switchblade. Ow, ow, that hurts. ( Heavy breathing.)

(running)

Allison: Tess? Tess, where are you?

Tess: Ally. I’m over here behind that big stalagmite. Look for the glow from my phone.

Allison: Oh God, Tess, are you hurt?

Tess: I fell and scrapped my knee really bad, but I am ok.

Allison: can you walk?

Tess: I think so.. OW

Allison: Shhhhh.. Hold on, get down,

(Running)

Angry Man: Where did you get to you snot nose brats?! Come here and I’ll help you stay out of other peoples problems for good!

(scrambling over rocks, slipping, grunting)

Angry Man: Come here child, I swear I will only talk to you. Maybe beat a little sense into you. I won’t do as bad to you as I did to that stupid child ranger. He tried to hold me back from saving my wife. She was having one of her seizures. It was his fault. Well, he paid for it. Now it’s your turn little girl! Come here and take your punishment!

Allison: (Whispering) Crawl Tess, follow me. We have to get out of here, or he will find us.

Tess: (Whispering) I can’t, it will make too much noise, he will find us.

Allison: (Whispering) If I distract him, you get somewhere safer ok?

Tess: Wait.

Allison: (yelling) Hey, you stinking loser what did you do to that ranger?

Angry Man: I knew one of you brats was here, where’s your friend with the attitude?

Allison: Like I would tell you?

Angry Man: Oh, I can make you tell me anything.

Allison: You have to catch me first.

(Running away)

Tess: Ally you stupid stupid girl. If we live through this and you hear this know that you are an idiot, and I love you.

(Dragging and heavy breathing)

Tess: I’m turning this off, I can’t talk and risk giving my location away. Hopefully, you will hear from me again.

(recording stops)

(recording begins)

Allison: We lived through the experience, despite Tess’ ominous ending. I was really surprised to hear all of that. Leave it to her to think of recording when she’s being chased by a psychopath.

Tess: Shut up, I thought the cops could use it as evidence if anything.

Allison: oh yeah, the cops, sure. You never even mentioned the tape.

Tess: Thank goodness I didn’t! They never even published an article in the local paper! They just acted like none of it ever happened. They only talked about the lady and the kids in the elevator getting rescued.

Allison: I mean, it would be really bad for business if the public knew a mad man was loose in the caverns with a knife and that he chased down two college girls.

Tess: I don’t care how bad for business it is, it’s important. Did they even press charges on that crazy man?

Allison: No, I think the young Ranger who stayed with the guy and his wife when we left was knocked out from behind, and nothing was caught on camera. It was a “he said she said” kind of thing. So there was no proof.

Tess: It’s ridiculous. Because of him, I fractured my leg and nearly died of hypothermia!

Allison: I love you Tess, but you didn’t “almost die”. You were just cold and bloody when the rescue crew found you. Way off the trail by the way.

Tess: Well, excuse me for doing what you told me and hiding while you ran off like a maniac with one following you!

Allison: Touche. At least I was able to lead him to the rest of the group with Ranger Dan. I wouldn’t have been able to fight him off to save my life.

Tess: Yes, I am thankful that you ran in the right direction and lead that lunatic to his capture. At least we have our record. If anyone ever listens to these tapes they will know what really happened that day,

Allison: Oh yeah, that would be the day, more than likely no one will ever hear anything we’ve recorded on this relic.

Tess: Maybe we should do something about that.

Allison; Yeah, Maybe one day. In the meantime, I’m just glad you are okay.

(Recording Ends)

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