The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Category: Imaginary Page 1 of 12

Imaginary Adventures

Mother’s Warning

I should’ve listened to my mother about visiting the train tracks alone at night. 

I should’ve listened to my mother about visiting the train tracks alone at night. As young as I can remember, she was strangely persistent that I “never, ever go alone to the abandoned tracks on the outskirts of town at night.” The few times I asked why she would only tell me that it wasn’t safe. However, when I was a teenager, there was this one time that I felt extra rebellious, and I edged her on about it. She threatened with losing ten years of my life if I ever did go there. I felt terrible after provoking her, so I never brought up the subject again. Over time, I just kind of forgot about the tracks.

If it weren’t for my dorm mate igniting my curiosity, I probably would’ve never gone. With Halloween approaching, we got into a casual discussion about urban legends, and I brought up the abandoned tracks. After some goading, I drove out there at about 11 p.m. 

From inside my car, the two sets of tracks looked ordinary enough. With my phone fully charged, I walked on them, looking for anything unusual or creepy.

But there was nothing.

Not even graffiti or trash or even strange noises. There was a faint smell of a wood fire burning, but no smoke or flames. After about an hour of walking alone, I made my way back to my car when the rusty metal railings I was on lit up in bright purple.

I jumped off to the other set of tracks when a giant shimmering disc made of a fiery reddish-orange light sparked to life over the tracks down where the purple glow stopped. A solid, white train burst out from the disc, passing me faster than a race car, into another red disc down the way. Despite the train’s size, the train itself was relatively quiet. The only noise it made was from it slicing through the air. 

Before I could process what happened, the track that I moved to lit up purple. Recognizing it as a warning, I leaped completely off the tracks as the train sped out from a disc to another disc.

With my car in sight, I ran toward it. A red disc of light appeared on the ground beneath it. The train erupted from it, sending my car flying as the train drove into the sky through another disc. My car landed upside down.

“Fuck!” I screamed. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

A fiery disc appeared not far from where the car landed, and the train leaped out of it, like one of those monstrous worms in a sci-fi movie. I rolled to the side – the train narrowly missed me. I got back up and continued running. I repeatedly looked over my shoulder, watching for the portal to appear. Then I looked at my arms and noticed a red glow. That’s when I looked up and realized it had opened above me.

I closed my eyes as the train smashed into me. I felt my body being tossed around in a metal box like a ball in a washing machine. When the pounding sensation stopped, I opened my eyes. I was lying on the floor in the middle of an aisle inside a modern passenger train car, unharmed. The smell of the car made me think of brunch. There were no other passengers. Outside the windows were stars and rolling hills of forests. 

A chime dinged over the speakers, and a cheerful voice announced, “We will arrive at our next destination in 10 years.”

This week’s short story was brought to you by the following writing prompt: “Your mother told you to never go near the train tracks alone at night. You should have listened.”

3×03 The Stage is Set at Constantine Theater

After getting a fortune from one of those old Zoltar machines, Sam and Geoff visit with Garrett Hartness at the Constantine Theater interview for the history of Pawhuska and stories about the theater. 

Subscribe to new episodes of Tales Unveiled via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher, or anywhere you enjoy podcasts. New episodes on Fridays!

Inside the theatre - photo by Dennis Spielman

Tales Unveiled is a production of The Show Starts Now Studios and is produced by me, Dennis Spielman. The voice of Sam Saxton is Dennis Spielman. The voice of Professor Geoff DeRoot is Jeff Provine.

We would like to thank Garrett Hartness at the Constantine Theater for setting the stage with great stories within this episode. 

If you love what we’re doing, want us to keep being artist owned and patron supported, click here. In return, you can get bonus content, including early access to other shows from The Show Starts Now Studios!

Thank you for listening to Tales Unveiled!

Behind the Scenes Commentary

After spending the first half of our day in Bartlesville in the previous episode, Jeff and I visited Pawhuska in the afternoon. In reality, we started our visit with Garrett’s interview. After our interview, Jeff and I walked around and found the fortune-telling machine. I thought it would be fun to record what it said for the podcast. My equipment was in the car, so I used my phone for it, which worked out fine. We are incorporating elements of the fortune for the season, so you’ll have to stay tuned to find out how it all comes true.

We stopped for some treats at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, which were delicious. It wasn’t my first time there so I knew they had some good stuff. From there, we drove back home.

Don’t Go Inside

A typical movie night between two girls turns weird when the characters on the screen began to hear them.

Hoi plopped down on their thrift-store-find purple couch. She grabbed a single popcorn from the giant bowl and tossed it at Bree’s face. The popcorn bounced off with no reaction from her roommate. The two worked part-time at a boutique coffee shop and were reasonably immune to each other’s shenanigans. Both considered themselves geeks with Bree being a costume designer and Hoi as a video game streamer who specialized in playing with randomization mods. 

“Put the phone away,” Hoi playfully provoked her friend.

“Just a second,” she replied as she scrolled through the sea of social media comments. “I’m making sure people are behaving.”

Hoi grabbed a hand full of popcorn and started snacking. “Your Geralt cosplay getting a ton of likes and shares?”

“I’d say so. Lots of people like my take. It’s also getting its fair share of haters, but it’s mostly positive.”

“Cool, cool, cool,” Hoi praised with her mouth full. She finished chewing. “So, tell me about this movie you got for us tonight.”

Bree traded her phone for the TV remote on the coffee table. “It’s an indie-flick called The Voices. I brought it from this eccentric couple at the farmer’s market this morning.”

Hoi raised an eyebrow. “Eccentric couple?”

“Yeah, like the dude wore this white suit with pink outlines, and the girl had on a sparkly red dress.” Bree took a sip of her gin and tonic. “Oh, and all their DVDs were in milk crates, and they had this pink door with them.”

“Sounds very Wes Anderson.”

Bree laughed. “Exactly. I thought the movie would pair nicely with our dreary weather. They said the film was about these two guys who hear voices in the woods.”

Hoi waited a moment for Bree to explain more. “And?”

“And that’s all they told me. I couldn’t find anything online about it either.”

Hoi pulled up the fluffy blue blanket around her legs. “This should be fun. Hit play.”

Bree obliged and hit play. The movie began with an establishing nighttime areal shot of a forest. No names or title cards appeared as the drone flew down and followed two young adult men. The guys walked along a gravel trail into the woods, using their phones as flashlights. A lively set of forest sounds accompanied them on their journey. 

“These guys kind of look like us,” Hoi whispered.

Bree shushed Hoi while one of the characters did the same on-screen. The characters stopped, making the girls pause in anticipation of a jump scare. The music shifted to eerie strings as the camera panned around the empty forest. 

“What is it, Marcus?” Anthony whispered. 

“I thought I heard someone talking,” Marcus replied at an average volume. “Come on, let’s hurry back to the cabin.”

The characters started to pick up their pace as the camera flew up and followed them to a small, modern wooden cabin with a chimney. The screen was on a wide shot, showing the guys walking up the cabin as a shadowy figure slipped down the chimney.

The camera switched to a close-up shot of Anthony reaching for the doorknob when Hoi screamed at the TV, “Don’t go inside!”

Anthony yanked his hand away from the door. The camera switched to a medium shot of Anthony and Marcus as they rapidly looked around the area.

“Did you hear that?” Anthony asked, his voice faded. “It sounded like someone said, ‘Don’t go inside.’”

Hoi gasped and briefly covered her mouth while Bree cracked a smile. 

“Now, that’s freaky,” Bree commented in enjoyment.

The guys got close to each other and pointed their flashlights into the woods.

“Who said that?” Marcus shouted into the woods. “Who said, ‘That’s freaky?’”

Hoi slapped a hand over her mouth as Bree’s jaw dropped.

“It’s like they can hear us,” Hoi remarked.

“Yeah, we can hear you,” Marcus yelled, still searching for the voice’s source.

“It’s not like they can hear us, hear us, you know,” Bree vacillated.

“What are your names?” Anthony asked into the void. 

“I’m Bree, and my friend is Hoi,” she joked.

Marcus scanned the forest with his light as he asked, “Now, how about don’t you come out, Bree and Hoi.”

“Shit, they can hear us,” Bree admitted, nearly dropping her cocktail.

“’Couse, we can hear you,” Marcus groaned. “Why don’t you show yourselves?”

“We-we can’t,” Bree explained, fumbling on what to say. “You’re on our TV.”

Anthony and Marcus pointed their lights higher at the house, looking for cameras. Anthony reached for the doorknob again.

“Don’t go inside!” Hoi blurted. “We saw some shadowy monster sneak in through the chimney.”

“A shadowy monster?” Anthony repeated.

“It must be The Devour,” Marcus insisted as he pulled on Anthony’s hoodie, dragging them away from the cabin.

“But what about our stuff?” Anthony pleaded.

“We’ll be dead if we go inside.”

The cabin door burst open. Anthony, Marcus, Bree, and Hoi all shrieked as a massive shadowy monster jumped out, pounding into the ground with each step. It had the appearance of a ravenous black wolf that was the size of a horse.

“Run!” Hoi and Marcus screamed at the same time.

Hoi and Bree held each other as the camera switched to a red-vision viewpoint of The Devour. The guys ran as fast as they could, but they were no match for the monster. The Devour leaped on them, and the screen went black.

After a few minutes of staring at the black screen, Hoi spoke up. “Is that it?”

Bree stood up and walked over to their DVD player. She pressed the eject button, and the tray opened up with no movie inside. Bree moved the other movie cases around, looking for the one the film came in, but it wasn’t there.

Bree turned back to Hoi. “It’s gone. It’s all gone.”

This week’s short story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “While watching a horror movie, your friend shouts “Don’t go in there!” as the main characters are about to enter a cursed woodland cabin. To your shock, the characters all begin looking around, asking each other if they had heard that voice as well.”

I thought this would be a fun story to write with how my wife and other people I know love to yell at the characters on the screen, wishing they could hear them.

Thank you for reading and be sure to support indie filmmakers. 😉

3×02 Welcome to Bartlesville

With a full schedule, Sam and Geoff arrive in Bartlesville for various ghost stories about the town and visit a mysterious attraction. 

Subscribe to new episodes of Tales Unveiled via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher, or anywhere you enjoy podcasts. New episodes on Fridays!

Tales Unveiled is a production of The Show Starts Now Studios and is produced by me, Dennis Spielman. The voice of Sam Saxton is Dennis Spielman. The voice of Professor Geoff DeRoot is Jeff Provine.

We would like to thank Tim, Michelle, Norma, Jessie, and Maria Gus for sharing stories with us. We’d also like to thank Visit Bartlesville for the interview connections. 

If you love what we’re doing, want us to keep being artist owned and patron supported, click here. In return, you can get bonus content, including early access to my other projects!

Behind the Scenes Commentary

Jeff and I had a packed schedule for this trip. Not only did we record all of the Bartlesville interviews, but our afternoon was also spent in Pawhuska for episode three. To date, this is our longest episode at 54 minutes, just beating the previous record-holder, Taming The Stone Lion Inn, which was 53 minutes.

Jeff and I did visit Bartlesville’s Gravity Hill. I’ve been there before and knew that it worked and it was the first time for Jeff. In the story, the professor commented that the Magnetic Hill in Springer was more impressive, which in reality was my personal comment, but it was still fun. The narration about Gravity Hill was recorded on a later date (like a few weeks ago actually) as we were pressed on time to get back to Frank and Lola’s for those interviews. I did record footage of the Gravity Hill that I plan to feature for an episode of Uncovering Oklahoma.

That’s all my behind-the-scenes stories for you today. Thank you for listening!

Through the Washing Machine

During her birthday party, Krystal hides in a new and mysterious giant washing machine at an immersive art gallery only to come out in a strange world.

Krystal had never seen the giant washing machine before. While she felt like she would discover a new tiny detail with each visit to the immersive art gallery, a front-loading washing machine, the size of half a car was not something she would’ve missed. She walked around the silver-colored machine. The art piece wasn’t backed against a wall or connected to anything. That ruled out it leading to another section like the famous washing machine portal at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

If she didn’t want to get caught, she didn’t have time to stare. For her 30th birthday, she rented out the entire 6,000 square feet hand-crafted, immersive art project known as MixTape by Factory Obscura. Factory Obscura’s MixTape was a multi-sensory experience that explored the emotions associated with giving or receiving music as a gift. As a gift, Krystal invited a dozen of her friends for an adults-only game of hide-and-seek. Plus, a feast of pizza, cake, and craft beer from local businesses. Her goal: have an unforgettable birthday adventure.

The round, plastic door to the washing machine was covered with a milky way wallpaper on the inside, making it impossible for Krystal to see through. Curious, she grabbed the handle–not sure if it would even open–and pulled. Inside was a fully padded room with bright pastel-colored pillows, matching those of the nearby cactus treehouse. On the ceiling was a scattering of fairy lights. Krystal’s face lit up in awe.

“I can hide in here,” Krystal declared as she climbed inside.

When the door latched close, soft, dreamy atmospheric music began to play inside. Krystal leaned against the pillow wall and stretched out her legs. She felt confident in her hiding spot and bet her friends wouldn’t figure out the door opens. She tried to listen for anyone coming, but she couldn’t hear anything with the music.

After several minutes, annoyance began to settle. Krystal regarded her hiding spot as good, but not that good. She then began to wonder if it was a prank or perhaps a wholesome trick.

Maybe my friends are in the lobby together, waiting to surprise me? Krystal thought. Then I shouldn’t keep them waiting.

Krystal opened the door. A sea of socks of every color and every pattern filled the sunny outside like sand dunes. There was no way Factory Obscura could pull off such a room. To fill a place with this many socks, they would’ve had been collecting them for decades–putting out numerous calls for donations, which she would’ve seen and probably would’ve contributed to the cause too. More importantly, she then realized, was that the area was larger than the entire building.

“Hello?” Krystal called out.

No response.

She eased out one leg, keeping most of her body inside as she tapped on the ground. It was solid. Feeling safe, she gradually stepped out of the washing machine. The ground felt like standing on a pile of laundry. She looked behind the machine. Off in the distance were small buildings composed of socks and random junk. 

With the small town being her only visible point of interest, she started walking. After taking several steps, the terrain began to rumble. She turned and ran back to the washing machine, but before she could reach it, the machine was flung up into the air by a giant white sock worm.

Krystal screamed. The washing machine landed far away, near the town, but it didn’t seem damaged. The stock worm was three times the size of the washer. Krystal held up her arms, bracing herself to be eaten whole.

“Hello, there,” the sock worm warmly greeted.

Krystal let her guard down. “Hi.”

“Are you new here?”

“Yeah. Where am I?”

“You’re in the Land of the Lost Things.”

“Land of lost things?” Krystal repeated. “Is this like where lost things end up?”

“Yes, but you don’t seem to be lost. We rarely get humans here. How did you get here?” the sock worm inquired with a friendly tone.

“I just got inside that washing machine,” Krystal explained while pointing to said machine, “and when I opened the door, I arrived here.”

“I don’t like that machine,” the sock worm grumbled. “I don’t like it’s creator either. Always playing tricks on people to study the universe.”

“Could you help me get back to my friends?”

“Depends. Do you consider yourself lost in life?”

“Actually, I feel like things have been looking up for me lately and that I have a purpose, a direction for once.”

“Then this won’t hurt.”

“What won’t–”

Before Krystal could finish, the sock worm opened their mouth and devoured her. Her scream muffled as the socks surrounded her, making everything go black. Everything stopped moving, and she stopped screaming.

Then she felt a bop on her head by a human hand. She pushed away the clothes in front of her face, revealing she was back at Factory Obscura in a pile of socks where the washing machine once stood.

“Found you,” her boyfriend playfully taunted. 

This week’s short story was inspired by the writing prompt: “You are playing hide and seek, and decide to hide in the washing machine. You sit there for some time, but it seems like your friends gave up. You climb out, only to discover that you are on a mountain of socks. Welcome to the land, where all the lost things go.”

When thinking about this prompt, I was thinking of some way to feature adults in the story as a twist. That got me to thinking of the washing machine portal at Meow Wolf, but I didn’t want to write about that one. Instead, I made up an art piece (or really a machine from Loki and Raven) that would act as a portal to the other world. I debated on leaving Krystal in the land of the lost, but I liked the sweet line of her boyfriend finding her. Happy ending today!

Thank you for reading!

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