produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #96 (Monday, 3/4/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
February, 1936 - Afternoon


THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER

76 Mapleton WayJanet Stokes"Judith, you...you..." Janet Stokes muttered as she turned to face her.  "You and Gordon had...  You and Gordon..."

"Janet, why are you acting like you're just finding out about this?" Judith Linford asked softly as if she were trying to keep Joyce from overhearing.  "You've known for a long time about my past with Gordon."

"But I..."  Janet quickly glanced from Judith to Joyce and then to Burt.  "But I didn't...  I don't..."

Burt Lamont eyed Janet closely and quickly saw the look of confusion and pain that showed on her face.

"Janet, are you all right?" he asked with concern.

"I...I don't..." Janet muttered as her head began to spin and a searing pain pierced her temple.  "I...I..."

"I won't let you do this!  I won't let you ruin my life like you've always tried to ruin my life!"

"There's nothing you can do about it."

"Janet, what's wrong?" Burt questioned as he grabbed her by the shoulders in an attempt to get her too look at him.  "Janet, are you okay?"

"I...I..." Janet muttered as her eyes glazed over.

"Isn't it obvious?" Joyce Preston growled.  "That little simpleton is just as loony as she ever was!"

"Janet?"  Judith looked at her sister closely, unsure as to what was going on inside her head.

"O-oh, my god!  Oh...my god!  W-what have I done?  Oh, my god!  I've done it again, but this time I've killed my own sister!"

And as those words echoed over and over inside her head, she screamed, tore out of Burt's arms, and ran out of the room.


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THE LAKE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

800 W. Rose St. Apt #3"Bill!" Stephanie Lake grumbled as she sat on the couch and sifted through a stack of envelopes.  "Another bill!"  She paused and furrowed her brow and ripped open another envelope.  "All past due."

She grabbed a pencil and carefully scribbled down some numbers in the notebook that lay by her side and made some quick calculations.  Seeing the results, she let out a weary sigh and slumped back onto the couch.

"There's no way I can pay all of these," she muttered as she tossed the notebook and envelopes on the floor and curled herself up into a ball.  "There's no way I can pay anything."

As Stephanie hugged herself tightly, she fought to keep her lower lip from trembling while her eyes began to fill with tears.  The utilities were all over due and they were about to shut off both her electric and water.  She'd been dodging bill collectors for weeks and had even given up on answering the phone.  It always seemed to be someone wanting money from her.  Without her mother's income, there was no way that she could pay any of them.

She was drug from her troubled thoughts by a loud knocking at her door.  Was it another bill collector who was trying to force her to pay those overdue bills?  Was it someone else wanting money from her---money that she didn't have?

Stephanie LakeShe'd decided to pretend that she wasn't home, but the knocking continued and got louder and louder.  Finally, defeated, she got up and trudged over to answer the door.  It was just as she'd fear.  The landlord was standing on the other side with a very unhappy look on his face.

"Hello, Mr. Purvis," she muttered, unable to meet his icy stare.  "What can I...help you with?"

"Miss Lake, I'm sure that it comes as no surprise to you that your rent is seriously past due," he replied in cool, even tones.

"I...I know that, sir, but...but..."  She bit her lip and nervously looked away.  "It's been a little difficult for me to come up with money since my mother...well..."

Seeing her emotional appearance, the landlord's expression softened slightly.  "Miss Lake, I know that this has been a rather difficult time for you, but...well...I am a business man."

"I...I understand that, Mr. Purvis, but..."

"And I'm sure that you can understand that as a businessman I make my money by taking in rent from tenants."  He paused and took a deep breath.  "And if I'm not being paid rent, then I'm not making any money."

"But...but..."

"Now, don't get me wrong," Mr. Purvis muttered softly.  "Your family has been very good tenants over the years and I think you're a very nice girl, but I have a business to run."

"What...are you trying to say?" Stephanie asked with worry as she tried to keep her voice from quivering.

Mr. Purvis"Miss Lake...Stephanie, I..."  He lowered his head and took a deep breath.  "You have until the end of the week to have your rent paid or I'm going to have to have you evicted.  I...I'm sorry.  Like I said, I think you're a nice girl and all and I'm really sorry about what happened to your mother, but...well...business is business."

"E-evicted?"  She struggled to choke back her tears as she felt her body start to tremble.  "What...am I supposed to do?  W-where am I...supposed to go?  I don't...have e-enough money!  I can't...live on the...s-street."

Mr. Purvis looked at her and sighed as he shook his head.  "I'm sorry, but that's really not my problem.  You have until the end of the week.  If I don't have the rent, you need to have your stuff cleared out so that I can find tenants who can pay."

And with those words, the landlord walked out the door and left Stephanie alone, unable to hold back her tears.  Overcome with emotional desperation, she threw herself onto the couch and cried hysterically.  On the street?  How could she live on the street?  He couldn't evict her!  She had no where to go!

After taking a deep breath to calm herself, she grabbed a handkerchief and wiped the tears from her eyes.  She knew that the situation was hopeless.  There was no way she could come up with all of the money for rent by the end of the week.  Unless...  

She glanced down at Willis Lowell's card that lay on the coffee table next to a stack of unopened bills and eyed it carefully.  Maybe she should call him and tell him that she was interested in his offer.  Maybe she could be an actress on the radio.  However, she sighed wearily when she realized that, even if Mr. Lowell gave her a job, there was still no way she could come up with enough money to pay the rent.  It was hopeless!  She was going to be thrown out onto the street with no place to live.

Sara ManchesterSuddenly, another knock at the door pulled Stephanie from her thoughts.  She turned and eyed the door with apprehension.  Was it another bill collector who'd come to pry money out of her?  After taking a deep breath, she got up and, once again, went to answer the door.  Her unexpected visitor was the one person that she least expected to see.

"Hello, Stephanie," Sara Manchester muttered softly before walking into the room.


THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER

76 Mapleton WayBurt Lamont"What the devil is wrong with you?" Burt Lamont snapped as he glared angrily at Joyce Preston.  "Who the hell do you think you are to just waltz into this house and start spewing your horrible, hateful venom?"

"I'm the woman whose life those two tramps destroyed!" Joyce shouted.

"I'm not even going to waste my time standing here arguing with you, lady," he sighed with utter disgust.  "I'm going to go find Janet and make sure that she's okay."  He began to storm out of the room, but paused and turned to again face Joyce.  "My advice to you is to leave!  I hope that you're not here when I get back because I would really hate to forget that you're a lady."

"Trust me, that's not something that's difficult to forget," Judith Linford muttered under her breath with a roll of her eyes.

"Do you think this is funny?" Joyce asked with a voice full of fire and fury as Burt rushed out of the room.  "Do you?"

"Funny? No," Judith replied flatly.  "Actually, I find you to be rather pathetic.  Your life is what you've made of it.  Stop trying to blame misfortunes of your own creation on other people."

"If it weren't for you and your tramp sister, my life would have been perfect!  I would still be married to Gordon and we would be blissfully happy!  Because of your lies and schemes, my life was ruined!"  Joyce clinched her fists together tightly.

"Joyce, dear, this is the same old song and dance that you've subjected me to for years," Judith sighed before briskly walking over to the front door in an attempt to signal that Joyce's visit was over, "and I really am in no mood to relive your sordid melodramas again!"

"If it weren't for you and Janet, Gordon wouldn't be dead!  I wouldn't have been left penniless!  You're responsible!  You're both responsible!"

"Well, since you clearly can't take a hint," Judith sneered as she flung the door open, "I'll spell it out for you.  Get out!  Get out of my house and get out of my life!  Just slither back under your rock and leave us alone!"

Joyce Preston"You think you've got it so good, don't you?"  Joyce let out an evil laugh and then walked over to Judith.  "You've got the big house and the beautiful furs.  You've got everything!"  She paused and took a deep breath to give her time to collect her thoughts and emotions.  "I had all of that, too, once, but you took all of that away from me!  You took away my life!"

"You know, I just really can't believe that we used to be best friends," Judith muttered in a half-laugh as she shook her head in disbelief.  "I just don't know what I could have been thinking.  It must have been my week for slumming."

"Oh, you think you're so high and mighty now, don't you," Joyce seethed.  "You think you can lord over me just like you always have!  Well, enjoy it while you can!  You destroyed my life and..."

"Oh, just shut up!"

As Joyce's teeth clinched, her face turned a crimson red.  Years of anger and bitter resentment had exploded to the surface and began to bubble over with a veracity that she couldn't contain nor control.  Her temper raging out of control, Joyce reared back and delivered a loud slap across Judith's face.

"You can go to hell and I promise you that I'll do everything in my power to make sure that you and your nutcase sister get exactly what you deserve!"

Judith, stunned and clutching her stinging cheek, stumbled backwards as Joyce stormed out of the house.  As she grabbed onto the doorknob to steady herself, her head started to spin as Joyce's voice began to echo inside her head.

"You destroyed my life!"

"You destroyed my life!"

"I won't let you do this!  I won't let you ruin my life like you've always tried to ruin my life!"

Wait, that wasn't right?  Joyce didn't say that.  Who said that?

Judith squinted her eyes as she felt herself growing dizzy.  Something wasn't right.  The echo of Joyce's voice inside her head was beginning to sound oddly like Janet's.  When had Janet said those words?  When had she and Janet argued like that?

Judith Stokes LinfordFeeling rather unsteady, Judith carefully shut the door and stumbled weakly across the room as she fought to keep the room from spinning.  Finally, unable to make it any further, she paused at the foot of the stairs and grabbed onto the banister in hopes of regaining her equilibrium.  As if in a trance, her eyes focused on the railing and slowly began to follow it's graceful lines and curves all the way to the top of the staircase.  Suddenly, she heard a horrible, blood curdling scream inside her head.

Who was it?  Who was screaming inside her mind?  What was going on?  Judith's body shivered in fear.  Why did it all seem so foreign to her, yet so familiar at the same time?  What was forcing these horrible thoughts and images to flash inside her mind?

Then, in an instant, her eyes grew wide with a mixture of shock and horror.  In that moment, the scream inside her head became clear and she gripped the banister even tighter as she felt her legs grow weak.  At that moment, Judith realized that the terrifying scream inside her head was, in fact, her own.