Episode 1 of The Space Between
The Space Between
Part I – Hollyweird
Future historians may look back on the morning of April the 8th as a defining moment. It was the moment a small group of professionals discovered a plot to destroy humanity but were able to fight back and triumph. Or perhaps it was the moment our doom was ultimately sealed. Perhaps there will be no future historians.
Three people sat around a coffee table at Schriver Studios. Maria del Ponchard, the co-star of The Space Between. George Williams, consultant and Christopher Rameriz, Security. All three were probably wondering if they were going to get paid.
Four days prior, Verity Harrow, the star of the movie had left the set and promptly disappeared. Rumors abound that she had got cold feet and skipped out on her contract or gone on a drug binge. There was even some talk that perhaps she had eloped with Jared Woodward, the director, as he had been absent for about the same amount of time. Of course, others thought it was something more sinister.
Production had, of course, ground to a halt and most of the crew had given up coming in with only a few hangers on trying to look busy. One of them was Tekroop Singh, the assistant director.
Singh had been filming pick-up shots and trying to keep morale on the movie high for the past couple of days but judging from the yelling coming from the hall he had finally cracked. He stormed into the room, visibly upset and looking for someone to vent at. He settled on the trio.
Tekroop was desperate. Despite the film being clearly incomplete a super-advanced screening was supposed to be held the following evening. Woodward had (apparently) been editing at his home suite for the past few days but was refusing to return to set or answer any reasonable questions on the phone. With little to lose he asked the group if they could try and talk some sense into him. Tekroop also appealed to Maria’s friendship and Christopher’s working relationship with Verity. Perhaps they could check her house? The party agreed with Maria suggesting they visit Verity’s trailer first. They set out.
Verity’s trailer was locked, but Christopher held a copy of the key. The trailer proved clean and unremarkable. Some of Verity’s head-scarves sat atop her dresser. After a cursory examination, the three left.
As George, Christopher and Maria left the trailer a car pulled up in front of them and two uniformed police officers exited. They were accompanied by a grizzled, balding man in his mid-sixties who introduced himself as Detective Samuel Neumeier. The detective announced that a body, or rather, human remains had been found in a storm drain a short distance away and it was a possible match for Ms Harrow. Neumeier made no attempt to disguise his distrust of The Church and demanded he be allowed to search the set. George ‘politely’ pointed out that without a warrant ‘they were going to have none of that, thank you very much’ which sent Neumeier into a rage, claiming that he would bring them all down.
Meanwhile, Maria had noticed one of the other officers looked extremely shaken and slipped away from the others. She found him a short distance away, vomiting noisily. With a reassuring hand on his shoulder he recovered enough to talk. ‘They skinned her, man. There was nothing left but...guts.’ he was able to mutter before heaving again. Neumeier yelled for him to come back and the three officers climbed into the car to find someone with more authority.
Rameriz wanted to see if Singh’s reaction to hearing about the murder was suspicious so the three headed back to the sound stage to give him the bad news.
The director certainly seemed upset by the news but was unprepared to shut down production. Concerned the investigation was a witch hunt he refused to let the officers on site until more evidence came to light. He asked the group to continue their investigation. They climbed into Rameriz’s SUV (with tinted windows and all the optional extras) and departed for Harrow’s apartment.
Christopher arrived at Harrows house in record time with the other two in a mixed state of admiration and terror at his driving. As they pulled into an empty space they noticed another black SUV, this one with Church plates, parked outside. A man sat looking rather nervous in the driver’s seat. The group approached.
Rameriz identified him as another part of Harrow’s security detail, a man name Tyrone Goode. Goode seemed somewhat evasive and confused about his interrogation and seemed somewhat surprised that anyone was worried about Verity at all. He claimed that she had paid him $1000 to drop by her house to pick up some things and that she had been ‘detoxing’ at the Churches celebrity retreat. He’d been waiting here for a while and had no problem with the trio checking in on her themselves. The group approached the front door, a line of police tape lay discarded beside it.
The bodyguards key unlocked the door but privacy chain inside was engaged. As Rameriz attempted to unhook it the door slammed shut. From inside a voice demanded to know what they wanted. Any relief the investigators may have felt was short lived as it was clear something was very wrong with Verity. After some pleas from Maria, Verity opened the door and let the three in.
Verity seemed to have adopted the usual celebrity disguise of dark glasses and a head scarf. She seemed distant and distressed. As she spoke she picked up items that may have held some sentimental value to her and gazed at them distractedly. She assured, halfheartedly, that she was fine and had indeed been detoxing at the celeb retreat under Craig Steel’s direction. She had snuck out to pick up some personal items from her house. After some encouragement, she agreed to accompany the investigators. George and Maria joined Tyrone in one car while Christopher and Verity got in his SUV. They headed to Woodward’s penthouse.
Verity remained completely impassive on the trip. The two vehicles parked. Verity showed no interest in going into the building and Christopher was in no mood to let her out of his site a second time so the two stayed in the SUV while Maria and William went inside.
On the ground floor a concierge named Manny briefly blocked William and Maria from bothering Woodward but he must have been an off day as he got distracted and wandered off before Maria had to resort to dressing as a maid to infiltrate the penthouse. The pair ascended.
Woodward’s pad was a mess. It seemed unlikely it had been ransacked but was certainly apparent the director hadn’t been looking after himself. Drug paraphernalia lay on a coffee table. The investigators turned their attention to the editing suite.
Back in the SUV Verity began sobbing. While Christopher Rameriz may have been highly skilled at taking down enemies, comforting a distressed woman failed to be his strong point. Attempting his best impression of Maria he put a reassuring hand on Verities shoulder and gave her a stoic ‘There There.’ Verity was inconsolable. ‘I didn’t want this.’ she sobbed. ‘They said they could make me Empty, but I didn’t want this!’ Rameriz asked what she meant. Verity removed her sunglasses. Everything changed.
In Woodward’s apartment George and Maria were contemplating the door to the editing suite. A red light blinked ‘In Use’ above the door. Cold radiated off the door and a thin sheen of frost covered it. Maria pushed it open. Beyond lay the void. Nothing. Blackness stretched into infinity, interrupted only by the occasional pinprick of light that under differet circumstances could have been stars. The pair considered the darkness, unsure what to do. They dialed Woodwards number. Distantly inside the room a phone rang. Seconds later Woodwards crazed voice was on the line. ‘She’s real! She wont let me go!’ Woodward screamed. ‘Yvette Sommers is real!’ The line went dead. It took a couple of seconds for Maria and George to put together who Yvette Sommers was. The Space Between had a role that curiously no one knew who was cast as. Crew speculated that Yvette Sommers, the character who teaches Verities character in the ways of emptiness, was also played by Verity or was some sort of CG creation. It became apparent the truth was more sinister. Maria tentatively reached around the inside of the door jamb only to find she couldn’t touch the inside wall. The pair noped out.
Rameriz peered over the top of a dumpster. At the sight of Verity his composure had broken and he had fled from the car. Verity had no eyes. A lack of eyes probably wouldn’t have shocked Rameriz quite so much but within the empty sockets there was nothing. Space. Broken only by pinpricks of light. Steeling himself, Rameriz returned to the actress. ‘They did this to me.’ ‘I agreed but, I..I didn’t know.’ The distraught Verity Harrow told her story.
A devout Church Member Verity had wanted what all Church members wanted, to become Empty, completely free of Woes. When Craig Steel had approached her and told her of the Fast Track program she had agreed. The program was designed to bring Emptyness to an individual without the years of meditation. Even when Steel told her the expense of the process Verity agreed. Her skin would have to be removed. Verity had met with Steel and Woodward and together they had skinned her alive, recording the whole thing. Verity died, but had awoken ‘Empty’. Emptyness was not what had been promised. Verity still regained her memories and feelings but could feel what was left of herself decaying. She knew she didn’t have much time.
Steel and Woodward’s plans didn’t stop there. They believed the footage they had captured could be spliced into ‘The Space Between’ to bring this ‘Emptyness’ to any viewers. At that moment Verity knew of two copies of the film that had received the splicing. One was in Woodward’s possession and a backup was being looked after by Steel, probably in his office at the retreat.
George and Maria had joined Christopher and Verity. While Rameriz had warned of Verities true appearance George and Maria were obviously still horrified. To her credit Maria regained her composure rather quickly. The hardened war veteran however descended into a screaming fit for a short time before pulling himself together.
The group considered the situation. The Church’s influence was wide spread. There was a high chance that the police would be sympathetic to The Church and tip off Steel. Neumeier clearly would help but he hadn’t left a number and was unreachable. One of the film canisters was in Woodwards editing suite. Rameriz opened the boot of his SUV and pulled out a duffle bag. Throwing it open he removed his shotgun.
What is within the darkness of Woodward’s suite? How many have been Emptied? What is really going on at the Celebrity Retreat?
Time is running out….