FILE 4

The Prophecy of Reversal

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 955.

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There. Episode 4: The Prophecy of Reversal 

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY: Gooood morning, campers! Let’s get the ball rolling on this fine forenoon and kick things off with some announcements! How did y’all sleep? I certainly slept well — Jedidiah had me try this snakeoil tea to help me rest, and WHOO! (he slaps the table) That stuff’ll knock you RIGHT out HA HA HA! Don’t try it. 

The time is 8:60AM, and the sky is painted such an acidic shade of yellow that, well, I’d advise you all to avoid staring at it for too long. Warn your fellow campers not to glance up if you don’t want to learn what it looks like when a child’s irises melt off!

Not that it’ll matter. You’ll be too preoccupied to look up today, anyway, because kids, I have some great news about this morning. All morning activities are cancelled — because we’re receiving a surprise visit from the Gravedigress!

(he claps) WHOO!

For those of you who are new to Camp Here and There this year, the Gravedigress is a wondrous witch who tends the Death Fields down South. Using her powers of reanimation — not the same thing as necromancy, by the way — the Gravedigress’s magic can breathe a convincing imitation of life into your corpses! Dead pets? Dead relatives? Found a squirrel decaying on the forest floor? You better have those corpses handy when the Gravedigress comes around, ‘cos she’ll get them up and dancing like a crunchy marionette in no time.

Of course, they’ll all be corpses again once she leaves. If you want to see your dead pet or relative attain a more permanent state of reanimation, you’ll have to make the pilgrimage down to the Death Fields, a place where the Gravedigress’ illegal magics have long since seeped into the very soil. Just make sure you get comfy with decomposition first — the earth over there can keep your loved ones moving, but it won’t keep them from rotting!

Now, I’m —

JEDIDIAH

(quiet in the background)

Why are you just telling them to go to the Death Fields?

SYDNEY

Huh? Jeddie?

JEDIDIAH

It’s the Death Fields. You can’t just tell them to go over there, they can’t handle that.

SYDNEY

You really think so?

JEDIDIAH

Yes! It’s- yes!

SYDNEY: Geeze okay okay I’ll- fine!

Jedidiah has reminded me that it’s… super against the rules for campers to go to the Death Fields, as they represent some of the most dangerous and unethical magic that mankind is capable of. (whispering) But if you really want to . . . . . I’ll be your chaperone. I won’t tell! 😉

So, I’m sure all of you are jumping with excitement at the prospect of seeing our friend the Gravedigress this morning. That’s sweet, but it’ll be another half hour or so before she arrives, so in the meantime, why don’t you all get healthy helpings of the great breakfast that Matthew so kindly made for us? On today’s menu is watermelon cut into dodecahedrons, toppling tower tofu, and a healthy helping of the snack that smiles back — sausage!

Aaaaand that about does it for this morning’s news! Stay safe, my little mole rats, and remember: when you die, you will rot.

Love you!

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Wheeeeeew!! Well now, campers, wasn’t that a delight? The way you all clapped and cheered when Miss Gravedigress dragged herself into camp, her long-broken legs contorting into sickening perversions of form as she forced her body to locomote, playing both puppetmaster and marionette… well, it just warmed my heart to see you kids so excited. I’m sure that if the Gravedigress’ heart was not a dried-out, frozen husk, it would’ve been warmed as well! (he chuckles)

The show she put on was pretty spectacular. A veritable troupe of woodland cadavers — little skeletal squirrels rag timing with teensy top hats, featherless birds tracing anthems in the sky, bloodied rabbits hopping to the beat, and a symphony of half-eaten frogs playing little orchestral instruments. Thirteen-year-old Calvin, from Cabin Ladybug, brought along the corpse of his family dog, a darling little terrier named Scottie. And wouldn’t you know it, with just a wave of the Gravedigress’ desiccated hand, what remained of little Scottie was dancing and crooning like all the rest! Oh, and when his head popped off —

Well, you were all there, huh? You don’t need a review. Anyway, good times. Put in a good word for the Gravedigress on Warlock Yelp, and maybe she’ll come back again this Summer! Ha ha ha! Warlock yelp. I’m funny.

Ah, but — there is some rather concerning news in the wake of the Gravedigress’ egress. As kids from Cabin Ladybug will already be aware, a counselor by the name of Soren Baltimore is absent from the Lunch Lineup today. We can’t find him… anywhere, in fact! Now, as all counselors are taught, deserting your post is extremely against policy. Lucille has a habit of disciplining deserters with… (whistle) immense prejudice. “Run away and pay”, as she always says! So, Soren, if you’re somehow hearing this… I would really advise you to head on back and turn yourself in. Things will get very ugly if she has to go out and look for you.

And, ah, kids, counselors… if you happen upon dear Mr. Baltimore, just grab him by the arm and drag him up to the administration building. There’s a jolly rancher in it for you!


Anyhoo, activities for this afternoon include running with scissors, dancing on ladders, and swimming in a thunderstorm. Oh, these really sound fun! Lunch today will be tigerstripe tarts and tofurkey lemonade. And I believe that’s all! Have fun out there today!

(the door opens)

SYDNEY

Hm? Oh, Salem, Marisol! Kids, I’m joined by the two counselors from Cabin Grasshopper. What br—

SALEM

(from the back of the room)

We found Soren.

SYDNEY

Ah?

MARISOL

(from the back of the room)

Those fumes you’re always talking about? Salem saw him by breathing the bonfire. Oh, it was so cool, Sydney. She like, stood near it and got all still in a trance before she blinked and told me.

SYDNEY

HA! That’s the bonfire for you. So, where is our slippery friend?

SALEM

He’s — hey, is the intercom still on? 

(she walks closer)

You’re done with announcements, right?

SYDNEY

Well, yeah, but this is important, don’t you think?

SALEM

You think the kids need to be hearing this?

SYDNEY 

I mean, it’s for everyone, kind of, but… yeah? Wouldn’t they want to know? 

SALEM: You really — ? No. Turn this off. 

(sounds of a physical struggle)

SYDNEY 

Hey, stop it! You’re disrupting the integrity of the mealtime announcements! Only I touch the button!

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

… 

(there is a click as the recorder turns on)

SALEM

Yeah, yeah, and that’s real annoying, Sydney! Okay, okay, you know what, we can argue about this later. He’s-

MARISOL

(eager)

He’s left the camp grounds! Heading south. 

SYDNEY

You mean — ?

SALEM

To the Death Fields, yeah. I saw him walking up the hill. The Gravedigress was just a little ways ahead of him.

MARISOL

And we talked to Fennel. They told us Soren’s had this “thing” about necromancy and mortality since they’ve known him. 

SALEM

Tabarnak 

SYDNEY

The gravediggress is not a necromancer, though? 

SALEM

She’s as close as you’ll get, I guess. 

SYDNEY

Well, kids, this is an interesting development, isn’t it? Soren Baltimore seems to be making his way towards the Death Fields, the patch of soil down South where the line between life and death is blurred in exciting ways. I suppose I’ll talk to —

SALEM

You turned it back on? How long has this been running!? Sydney, for God’s sake, why insist on stressing out the kids? You’re really testing me here.

SYDNEY

(clears throat)

I’ll talk to Lucille about this and see if we can mount a rescue mission. In the meantime, campers, sit tight! 

(he turns to Salem, talking quieter)

They deserve to not be in the dark about stuff like this!

SALEM

Turn it off!

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Down past the southside fence and up Churchover Hill, there’s a wheat farm where soil and grass alike are deathly shades of gray, where the rottenfruit trees impart their dessiccated boons, and the wheat does not sway in the wind so much as flail and shudder and gasp. Its true nature is known to few and understood by fewer, for none can set foot on the soil without suffering great reprisal from the bitter magic buried within, and none can translate the death-rattled speech of the farm’s sole sentient denizen. Us locals lovingly refer to this place as the Death Fields, and as the name might indicate, it is not a place where the still-breathing are welcome. 

But we all took history class in school, right? We all know the story. Fourteen centuries prior to the present day: the deranged spree of a fierce emperor, and the trail of evisceration he left in his wake… the dirt turning sallow and barren with regret as it drank the blood of countless pigs, cows, and farmes… the plants withering under the weight of the land’s grief. Back then, there lived one dauntless magician who loved her land and her people so dearly that she sacrificed everything she had to bring it all back to life. But true necromancy, as she would come to learn, is impossible: thus, the spell that she cast was one of perpetual motion… without the grace of flourishing life. Instead, life without death. Life without the miracle of birth or the mercy of death; just eternal awareness, and eternal sickness. 

To this day, the land moves; it shudders and shakes and shifts with the seasons. Its creatures, large and small, stumble across the Schrodinger’s wastes, crying out for release, always rotting but never rotting away… and of all the sundry beasts who walk and think and suffer on that cursed land, not one heart still beats.

Well.

Lucille didn’t particularly want to go to all the trouble of retrieving Soren, but when she learned that I was dead set upon it, she agreed to come along. She’s so reliable! So the two of us zipped up our ever-stylish hazmat suits, Lucille popped an antihistamine for her wheat allergy, and we pocketed a couple of glass eyeballs for protection and luck. And we were off!

Campers, you know how sometimes, you look into an animal’s eyes and find them lacking? Empty, like a doll’s? Like a fish or a hamster, beady and black, no shine, no thought, a pure vacuum that may suck you in if you get too close.

The Gravedigress’s eyes looked like that, as she stood upon the sickly soil and beckoned Soren closer. Not that they’d ever looked alive, per say! But the darkness about them in that moment was exceptional. Her voice, as she murmured her unintelligible murmurs, had taken on this thick, milky quality, and it quivered in an oddly inorganic way, like the vibration of a hollow iron rod. And her hand — she had removed her gloves, and campers, when I describe her fingers as ‘boney’, I invite you to interpret that in the most literal possible sense. Emerging from robes of layered, gothic debonair, the joints of her hands creaked themselves into a beckoning, welcoming shape… 

She sorta reminded me of my mother.

Anyway, Soren was kneeling upon the divide at the bottom of Churchover Hill — the point where the green grass abruptly gives way to a toxic expanse of dead, deadly dirt. He had not yet touched the soil of the fields, but if I’ve ever seen a man in the throes of temptation, I saw it today.

Then Lucille yanked him up by the shirt collar and gave him an earful. Boy, did that snap him out of it! And after he’d been thoroughly dressed down for his treason, he was willing to walk back to camp with us. Just before we started back up the hill, I looked back at the Death Fields and, of course, the dear old Gravedigress had disappeared. I can’t believe she nearly snatched Soren right out from under our noses! She’s a sly old rascal, isn’t she, kids?

Aaaaaanyway. Soren hasn’t spoken a word since he got back to my office. (raising his voice) Isn’t that right, Soren? … Yeah, he’s not talkin’! Just sitting in a too-small chair, staring at the wall. Must be rattled. I’d like to invite Fennel Marlborough, Soren’s fellow counselor at Cabin Ladybug, to come down here and bring your friend some dinner. Me and Jeddie might need your help sorting this guy out.

Aaand tonight’s meal is robin wings with rutabaga sauce, macaroni paste, and a “blueberry merry blast, guaranteed to blast you” as labelled by Matthew. Wow! Don’t we just love him? Tonight’s activity is a campwide playing card game! Complete with special 3-D glasses to make the monsters on the little plastic squares really POP! Have fun, little blue jays! Enjoy your meal!

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Helloooo, ghost recorder. It’s 25:25 again. I had a fun day, but things are still going missing from my office. Not just that, they’re going missing from my room. There was this precious little rabbit stuffed animal I’ve had for years that is just gone. I know I haven’t moved it from the plush pile, and Jedidiah never touches it, so… yeah. Really suspicious.

I hung up this — this craft project, the kids gifted it to me; it’s a wreath of spears from the Battle Cabin. I hung it up on the door of my study, and it’s quite fashionable, I think! Perhaps it’ll scare off any would-be thieves. I can’t always guard the room myself, since I’ve been spending a lot less time in there lately. I’m trying to make sure Jeddie gets to sleep, see. He’ll be joining me here in our bedroom soon — I think he’s in his office right now, but I’ve been knocking at his door all night, bothering him for his company. But it’s like, I tell him it’s ‘cause I need his company, but really, I just wanna make sure he’s in the bedroom so he’ll want to sleep. It’s my little evil scheme. Devious, right?

He’s gonna wanna hear about the Death Fields anyways, or at least I’m gonna wanna tell him… Maybe he’ll have-

(the door creaks open)

JEDIDIAH

Ah, you’re recording your… journal thing?

SYDNEY

HI! Oh, yeah I was. 

JEDIDIAH

Am I interrupting?

SYDNEY

No, no it’s alright. Trust me, I’d rather talk to you. 

(sounds of Jedidiah shuffling)

How’s your project? 

JEDIDIAH

Enough of that… How was your day, Sydney? 

SYDNEY

I went down to that farm on Churchover Hill. You know, the spooky death magic one?

JEDIDIAH

You left the campgrounds?

SYDNEY

Yeah, Lucille was with me.

JEDIDIAH

Mm. 

SYDNEY

And the Gravedigress had a bone hand and she beckoned Soren to step onto the soil and become a zambie like her. I think she wanted me to walk to her and it was really cool her eyes were super unnerving you don’t normally see people with eyes like that like they were total voids and I thought maybe-

JEDIDIAH

Are you alright? 

SYDNEY

Mmm? I suppose. Why? 

JEDIDIAH

No particular reason. Next time… please don’t leave the campgrounds without telling me. Not that you can’t– not that I want to control you, or, or anything I just. I want to know you’re safe? 

SYDNEY

Not that you’d’ve come with me anyways :/. 

JEDIDIAH

… I’m going to bed. 

SYDNEY

Wait, I’m sorry. 

JEDIDIAH

Mm. 

SYDNEY

I guess I’m still a little… it’s alright, Jeddie. Don’t worry about it. I know you care, and I love you. 

JEDIDIAH

I love you too. It’s fine. I really am sleepy, though. I’d like to rest.

SYDNEY

Okay… sleep well. 

JEDIDIAH

You too. 

SYDNEY

(whispering)

Goodnight, ghost-recorder. 

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Salem de La Marnierre was played by Crystal Lee. The part of Marisol Yuchengco. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our Patrons Vance Barnhill, Alex Rybitski, Olivia Losito, Frogsnbogs, Conner Darrow, Generic Waffle, Mori, Lys, and Sarah Swihart.

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Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: Your bones want to be dry.