SHOW NOTES & TRANSCRIPT
A livestream to remember. 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.
Submit your prose or poetry for season 2! 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 Music and sound effects courtesy of www.epidemicsound.com
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[CREEPY RENDITION OF INTRO MUSIC]
Welcome, weary travelers, I’m Gabriela Jones, the new innkeeper of The Inn Between, where the trees are green, the rooms are cozy, and the whole place is only a little bit strange. 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.
I personally am not drinking coffee right now but a cup full of lavender tea since it is so late and I need something to take the edge off. In case you’re wondering why I’m whispering, it’s because I’m recording this live right now, and I don’t want to wake anyone up.
I hope you listeners will forgive this kind of unorthodox episode. I’ve never live-streamed before. It’s not my style, and I prefer having just a little bit of time to think of what I’m going to say before it comes out of my mouth. To be honest, I hope nobody is listening to this. I hope you are all sleeping or trick or treating or out having fun, and hopefully, I can just delete this whole thing in the morning.
But that doesn’t answer why I’m here in the middle of Halloween night livestreaming to you, and truth be told, I’m not really certain either. I think I’m just hoping that by talking to someone, even if it’s mostly myself, will just help me feel better.
Everything has been a bit shifty lately. Not only has the weather gone from pleasantly cool to absolutely freezing just like that, but it’s brought the rain and the clouds with it. I thought I understood what a cloudy day in the pacific north was like after experiencing the fog and the clouds this past spring. But this is nothing like that at all, and the storm clouds are like dark, blankets of smoke that make the short day feel like unending dusk that then hide all the starlight at night. There are a few out-of-town guests coming in and out, and they are also complaining to me about the chill in the house and requiring extra bedding. And I don’t mean to complain, and a little weather of course isn’t exactly the reason I’m livestreaming at almost midnight on Halloween. But you know, there’s that.
Also, Dog has been barking so much lately. Anytime the fog gets too thick, he just goes off. And what’s worse, is that it’s like the house has been kind of moaning. I don’t know how to describe it other than a low noise that no one else seems to notice but me. I can’t tell if it’s a draft or something else, but it’s a solemn kind of noise that for weeks has grown louder and louder at night. And sometimes I hear things right outside my bedroom, angry snorts and huffs as if the eight-legged horse on the outside of my door is not only alive, but scared and in pain.
Like that? Do you hear Dog barking?! That’s at least the fifth time this evening that he’s started barking like that.
And I know I keep saying I’m not superstitious and I’m not, but Nancy did tell me something the other day that’s been weighing on my mind. On Friday, she was here on her bi-weekly supply drop-off and we were standing outside commenting on how fast all the leaves were falling, when she suddenly went kind of quiet. Gazing at the house and folding her arms she said something like, I don’t know,
“It’s a shame I won’t be able to take my youngest grandsons here for Halloween.”
I asked her what she meant and she told me that years ago, the Leake family used to hold an annual haunted house here at the Inn.
“I think it started in the 30s,” she said. “Something for folks to come to do every year.”
So I asked her what kind of haunted house it was, and she said,
“I don’t know how they did it,” she said. “But you’d walk through the house and you’d see things in the windows and mirrors. It wasn’t scary, but it was haunting.”
And now, here we are on Halloween, and all day I keep seeing things in the mirror. I walk past a window and I think I see something in the reflection: like a face watching me or a rat or mouse or something slinking away, but it ends up being nothing, just myself staring back at me. But I still don’t look right. Sometimes my nose looks too big or too small, sometimes one of my arms is up when it should be up and down when it should be, and sometimes I can’t look my own face in the eye.
That’s the one I dislike the most. What does that even mean? What does that say about a person? What they see or don’t see in their reflection? What they like and don’t like?
My bedroom has a window facing the north, and I could turn around and look into it and see what I look like right now. But I’m oddly scared that what if I don’t see anything at all?
Okay, let’s look, real quick.
There I am. I’m waving, but my reflection is not. She’s actually shrinking, smaller and smaller, looking younger and younger. The rain on the window pane is fading away, and I can see purple buds—oh! Like hyssop, hyssop flowers. Hey, That’s me as a kid! And I know where this is! My family once rented this beautiful victorian home as a kid and it had this amazing permaculture garden with hyssop and lupine growing everywhere. My sisters and I would play in the trees, and I would hide in the flowers and pretend I was a pixie or something. Those beautiful purple flowers seemed so big and tall when I was a kid, and it felt like living in another world. Ohb yeah, I’d almost forgotten about it till now, but when I think about, it was one of the happiest times in my memory. I loved that garden. I dreamed about getting married in that garden someday. Mom and dad, if you’re listening you remember that place too right? We were all so sad when we couldn’t work out a way to buy the house.
Oh. The window, it’s changing. Oh there’s me and my cat, Journey, and one of our neighbors. I can’t remember her name, but we all kind of thought she was, you know, out there. She used to say things like don’t feed the demons across the street. But one time I was outside and the cat scratched me—I can’t remember why but I still have a little scar on my arm. The neighbor saw it happen from the porch, and she put a little honey and bright orange calendula on a bandaid and then stuck it on my arm. Afterward, she gave me a basket of onions and carrots and wildflowers from her garden to take back to our house, and my Mom helped me look up the different flowers on the computer.
I had forgotten about that completely.
You know, it’s interesting—I always thought my love of botany came from this one time in biology class in high school. We were examining onion roots under a microscope, and you could see rows and rows of blue-looking cells slowly peeling apart, and it just amazed me how alive this little plant was. The same one I saw in my kitchen every day and never thought about it before. I just thought that was the most amazing thing I had ever heard, and that’s when I knew I wanted to work with plants.
Of course, that was a monumental, eureka moment obviously, but now that I think about it, it was all those little moments that came before that made it meaningful in the first place, right? Like if I hadn’t loved the garden so much, would I have even cared about the cells on an onion?
I don’t know.
Oh umm…hmm…pretty sure this the day after my very first breakup. Yep. It was raining and I went running. I almost got hit by a car, and I just felt so—Well, we can skip that. I’d really prefer not to think about it. So hopefully this goes away. Sorry.
Okay. Everything’s moving quickly now in the window now. There I am pouring coffee at my last job, there’s my graduation, here’s the day I arrived at the inn. Now I’m walking in the woods, running in the woods.
The window is growing foggy again. There’s frost gathering on the corners, and it feels actually feels cold in here. I see a horse running on water, two goats—one red and one blue. I see black inky mud that’s slithering through the grass, eating all the plants around it. I see birds falling from the sky and a mother that is not mine in a garden I’ve never seen. I see a shadow on the wall, a person changing from human to animal. And I see golden coins flying through the air, and a dying cypress tree with little red mushrooms growing out of it. I see myself again. I’m smiling but I’m falling, I’m falling into a lake, and I think I’m drowning. It’s like I can feel the water in my lungs. Why is it so cold in here?!
[GABRIELA STARTS COUGHING AND DOG BARKS IN THE BACKGROUND]
Sorry, I just need to take a drink of something.
I see a pair of leather hiking boots walking through a door and into a forest of sword ferns. They belong to a man, a young man with dark hair. Okay. He’s walking on a frozen lake, as if he’s above me and I’m below entrapped in the water. The ice is distorting his face, but I feel like I know him. You know, like the way you know people in dreams. You see them so clearly until you wake up, and they become just a blur—you can’t remember their face or features but you can remember how they made you feel while you were asleep.
He makes me feel good, and he’s reaching out for me like he’s going to pull me from the water. I’m reaching and reaching and reaching.
[SUDDEN BANGING AND RUSTLING NOISE]
Oh my god. The cat, oh my god, you scared me. It’s just the cat. The cat jumped up on my lap. Hello, yes everything is fine now, it’s just me, myself in the window, and the cat.
[LIGHT TAP ON THE WALL]
Oh, shoot I think we woke the lady next door.
Well that was…something…
Maybe I should have laid off the toffee apples I made earlier today.
But you know what, even if I do just end up deleting this, I will say that it was nice to talk through it, even if it’s just to myself. It’s always nice when you remember good memories that you forgot, and it was interesting gaining some new ones even if I don’t understand them. But you know what, tonight I’m not that worried about it. Because I might not understand it now, but maybe one day I will because life is funny that way. We live it forward, but we understand it backwards.
Till next time listeners,
Be kind, happy halloween, and don’t forget to water your plants
Hello, and happy Halloween! It’s Bailey Loveless, writer and usual reader of Gabriela and the Inn Between. Thank you so much for joining us on today’s special Halloween-month, Spooktober episode.
If you enjoyed the show, as always please consider tipping your innkeeper over at Ko-Fi or gabrielaandtheinnbetween.com, links in the show notes below. Not only does your contribution go directly toward Gabriela’s student loans, but it costs less than your favorite pumpkin spice latte, gets you to access to bonus content, and advertisement free. We are currently looking for guestbook submissions for season two of Gabriela and the Inn Between, so if you or someone you know writes amazing nature-inspired prose or poetry, please consider sending us a submission, link and info also in the shownotes.
New episodes of Gabriela and the Inn Between release during the quarter moon phase, with the next episode scheduled for November 16. n between time though, keep warm and keep well. See you next time, folks