SHOW NOTES & TRANSCRIPT
Why we don't let the dog in the house. Content Warning: minor, non-graphic descriptions of animal death and violence. The scene starts at the 7:13 minute mark and ends atso please listen at your own discretion.
Welcome, weary travelers, to The Inn Between. Join Gabriela Jones, a recent botany undergrad, in her new job as Innkeeper near the rural town of Shearwater.
New episodes bi-weekly on the quarter moon. Written and read by Bailey Loveless
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A special thanks to my Australian shepherd, Sochi, for providing the voice of Dog this week.
Also an extra special thanks to Michael Medler, this episode’s special cameo and guestbook contributor with his poem Dungeness Wood. Michael writes because Nature wills him to it. He recently left a dystopian suburb of Seattle and retreated to the knee-hills of the Olympic Mountains, cut the cable, and bought whiskey. Now he finds inspiration from deep woods, less so from demons. You can find both of his poetry volumes on Amazon.
Read guestbook submission guidelines here
LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This podcast is inspired by and recorded on the Indigenous lands of the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest. We celebrate and honor these ancestral lands and their stewards--past, present, and future.
THEME MUSIC: Yonder Dale / Tiny Surprises / courtesy of www.epidemicsound.com
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Hey, it’s Bailey, writer, and voice of Gabriela and The Inn Between. Before I start the show, I just wanted to let you know real quick that the following episode does contain minor, non-graphic descriptions of animal death and violence. This scene starts at the 7:13 minute mark and ends atso please listen at your own discretion. Thanks, and enjoy the show!
Welcome, weary travelers, I’m Gabriela Jones, the new innkeeper of The Inn Between, where the rooms are cozy, and sometimes…well sometimes strange and tragic things happen. Whether you’re listening for the first time or have been here before, come on in and prop up your feet-metaphorically speaking of course—and pour yourself a cup of coffee
Well…as you might be able to tell, I’m feeling a little melancholy today. Because unfortunately, family and friends, something happened last week. Something bad, and I expect Mr. Leake to find out and fire me any minute, so this might be the end of our little adventure.
But before I tell you about all that, I have a little update from Michael, the artist who stayed at the Inn last month in Episode 10. He was kind enough to send me a postcard, handpainted with beautiful gold and purple sunflowers. The back of it read,
“I just wanted to let you know, Gabriela, that my painting was a success at my art show. Thank you so much for your advice. A few more ideas about how to get to the lake have come to me since I’ve left. Here are the directions that I can remember:
This wood echoes
From crusted trunk
To basking canopy.
River as it rushes
Into the Straight
After a deluge.
Branches rub like
A rehearsal before
Paradise calls. A
Mourning, a dirge
For one fallen.
Roots thrust up
A sad carcass,
Food for fungi. I
Look to the light,
Fuel my stove
Souls who once
All. I am here,
Coroner of the
Wood, to take
Please put this in the guestbook so that others may have luck finding the lake and benefiting from its beauty also. I hope you have found your way there at last.”
If you’re listening to this Michael, thanks so much for the postcard and for staying in touch. While I have no clue what your directions mean, I’ll be sure to put them into the guestbook. If this is to be my last podcast episode before getting fired, then I’m glad you are a part of. Hopefully, someone else can decipher what your beautiful words and put them to use. I really wish I could have seen the lake for myself.
Alright. So what happened? Well, maybe some of you remember that on the first day I arrived, the last thing the former housekeeper Mrs. Carol told me was to not trust the dog and to not let him in the house. At the time, I jokingly asked if this was an official rule. I guess whether it is or isn’t doesn’t really matter because she wasn’t kidding.
Now I have never been a rule breaker or a rebel, and I have never allowed the dog in the house. At least not up till now. But after the weird and frankly frightening experience with Bella the Swan a few weeks ago, I have felt a little scared and unsettled. So at night after everyone’s gone to bed, I’ve been letting Dog sleep in the house with me because while he may look like the big bad wolf, he hasn’t eaten me yet. And at the time, I would have rather taken my chances with him than have another person show up unexpectedly in my bedroom.
And to be honest, Dog was a perfect gentleman. The first night, he just lay quietly on the floor at the foot of my bed. After a few days of that, it became well why not let him into the kitchen with me. Then it became why not let him walk around with me during the day. Then why not let him have breakfast in the house? Things have been slowing down around the inn and nobody made any unpleasant comments about him being there so I reasoned that it simply wasn’t a big deal.
That is until I awoke in the middle of the night to find Dog sniffing and growling by my door.
A bit of shuffling made the hair on my arms stand up straight. I woke up with a start, listening carefully and frightfully. Creaking and light shushing came from the hallway. Then a door somewhere out in the hall shut, and I sighed in relief.
“It’s just a guest,” I whispered to Dog, “It’s nothing.”
Dog growled once, then curled back up and we both returned to sleep.
But at the crack of dawn, he was up again, frantically pacing and panting by the door. I opened it up into the hallway and Dog bolted. Lunging and growling, he went straight for the Fiddlehead Fern room. A room—to the last of my knowledge—had been unoccupied.
In hindsight, I think I should have gotten help. Maybe I should have called Nancy or maybe the police, or just done something different. But I was afraid, and with Dog pawing and frothing at the base of the door, I knew something was inside. Something or someone who might have intended not to harm me. So with shaky fingers, I took the keys from my pocket and I opened the door, letting Dog run inside.
A terrible bellow arose, and something big and black charged towards me. I moved aside just in time to keep myself from being impaled, for the creature rushing towards me can only be described as the biggest, most beautiful stag I had ever seen. Upon its head was a magnificent set of antlers, nearly too big to fit through the doorway. They easily punctured into the wall, leaving huge gashes in the wood and drywall. With an angry shake, the stag freed itself, and it look right at me, with golden eyes that shone bright against its black coat, as rich and dark as ink.
Then came Dog…
He tangled himself with the stag, and together they crashed down the hall, a terrible collision of fur and teeth and blood and bone. Behind the doors, I could hear guests crying out in alarm, someone shouting what was going on, and Dog’s teeth found grip on the stag’s heel, and the two charged down the stairs out of sight, leaving me behind in a thoroughly destroyed hallway.
I don’t really recall how things happened after that. It was as though I couldn’t think or hear or speak. I’d never felt so helpless and out of control in my whole life. And I just stood there…I froze. I just…did nothing…A door opened, and someone started to shout at me. And I don’t even remember what it was they said.
Then I heard glass shattering somewhere downstairs, and that made me run. The front window was smashed open. Dog and the stag were outside side by the post box simply rushing at each other. I threw open the front door, and I think I started shouting for Dog, trying anything to call him off. Both animals were relentless.
Finally, the stag took off down the driveway.
Time went funny then. Everything seemed very fast and slow. . I can picture the stag and how its muscles moved as it ran. I can see Dog skidding to a stop in the driveway. I can vaguely recall hearing the sound of the car, speeding up the highway. I remember the sound of its tires screeching, and I remember the sound of the thud, and the scream of an animal.
I remember the car peeling away fast, so fast I can’t tell you what color it was. And then it was all silent.
There was Dog, sitting on the drive, looking stunned but otherwise unharmed. There was the stag, on the other side of the road standing among the cypress trees and foliage, looking as grand and graceful as ever as if nothing had happened at all. Then it fell. Bleeding, limping.
And by the time I crossed the street, it had only gone a few feet further into the ferns. Its hind legs were useless, and it would not rise again.
I got as near as I dared. Up close and in the quiet, I noticed that it was not just injured. It actually looked as though it might have been sick for some time, for its golden pupils were bloodshot and its ribcage protruded a bit more than I expected. Its black coat was slick and matted with dark oil, and tiny, deep red mushrooms and sprouts seemed to grow straight out of its skin. Maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed to me that the creature was slowly being eaten from the inside out.
I knelt down beside it, and in its eye, there was a tear.
Or at least, I think there was. It’s hard to say because I mean…It’s hard to say because frankly, I was crying too. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s not just that I felt sad or upset. It’s that the stag, even lame and pathetic, was still beautiful. Too beautiful. And it felt cruel that such a beautiful, lovely thing would die.
And then we sat there and I just was weeping and weeping and weeping until the stag sighed one last time.
Even though the sun was out, I felt cold as I crossed back to the Inn. I looked over my shoulder and aside from fresh skid marks, there was no sign of the stag at all. He had disappeared under the shroud of the ferns and cypress as if he had never been there at all.
Inside the inn were angry and rightfully confused guests alongside a giant mess to clean up. There was nothing I could do about either, except apologize and sweep up the broken glass. The damage in the hallway is far too extensive for me to do anything about. What’s more is I haven’t seen Dog since it all happened. I don’t blame him, he’s just an animal, and I shouldn’t have opened the door or let him in the house like Mrs. Carol told me. I just hope he is alright.
So yeah that’s it. And after all that, I just don’t expect to be in this job much longer. I guess if I were smarter I wouldn’t be admitting all of this in a public forum. But I’m not smart. I’m still just sad. Maybe it seems silly to you. It’s just a stag, it’s just a deer. But I’m sad that there’s one less beautiful thing in the world. And I’m sad that it’s my fault.
Wait, did…Is that? Dog? Dog?!
Sorry, sorry I’m back. It’s just that…Well the strangest thing just happened. But it’s Dog, he’s back! I heard him bark and there he was, in the yard. Everything is alright! And Dog looks okay, thank goodness! He was just barking at the mailman, who looked a bit startled as he handed me an envelope. An envelope with no return address and tied off with a green string. I know this string. And maybe you do too…Well, this is it, folks. No doubt these are my walking papers from Mister Leake. I know I should open it, but the thought of leaving is hard to accept. Maybe it’s just what happens when death occurs, but with everything that’s gone on lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about all that’s happened since I got here in March. I can’t believe it’s been only six months. I’ve learned a lot, felt a lot, and drank a lot of coffee. It’s been a summer full of new and strange experiences—some frustrating, some frightening—but honestly, most as pleasant as a good cup of tea. Maybe it’s unfair to say but I’m not ready to leave, not yet.
Alright, let’s open it.
I’m so sorry to be writing this more formal note to you. First of all, my deep condolences for the tragic accident that recently occurred at the Inn. A life lost is a life lost, and I’m sure it’s been difficult for you. Now as for the rest of this unpleasant business, please don’t worry about the window or woodwork—I will have someone out to repair the damage as soon as possible when it is least convenient for you. By way of gentle reminder, please do not disturb any self-check-in guests and in the future please leave Dog outdoors.
Well…I…I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how he knows these things, but I just…I just…If you are listening, Mr Leake, thank you. Thank you so much.
Till next time listeners,
Hey there, it’s Bailey Loveless, writer and reader of Gabriela & The Inn Between. Thanks so much for joining me on this week’s episode. If you enjoyed the show, please consider supporting via Ko-Fi, link in the show notes below. It costs less than your favorite latte, and your contribution goes directly toward Gabriela’s student loans. More importantly, keeps the show self-sustaining and more importantly advertisement free.
A special thanks to my Australian shepherd, Sochi, for providing the voice of Dog this week.
Also an extra special thanks to Michael Medler, this episode’s special cameo and guestbook contributor with his poem Dungeness Wood. Michael writes because Nature wills him to it. He recently left a dystopian suburb of Seattle and retreated to the knee-hills of the Olympic Mountains, cut the cable, and bought whiskey. Now he finds inspiration from deep woods, less so from demons. Both of his poetry volumes can be purchased on Amazon.
To submit your own short prose or poetry to be featured in the Guestbook segment, please send us an email or visit our website for more information, links also in the show notes. New episodes of Gabriela and the Inn Between release twice a month during the quarter moon phase with the next episode in September. I look forward to seeing you there. In between time, keep warm and keep well. See you next time, folks