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September 22, 2021 27 mins

Springheel Jack leaves evidence in Henry’s car. Is he being framed? Is this a copycat killer? Henry decides to share the clues with Anne. Chief Spencer targets an old suspect from the original murders, and Chelsea’s investigation takes a turn.

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Speaker 1 (00:10):
You were listening to Strawberry Spring, based on a short
story by Stephen King. Wusk again in the money. Good morning,

(00:32):
Rise and shine, New Sharon nights. It's cold and foggy
out there. Reminds me of my college jays, and we'd
sit around and talk about Strawberry Spring. Well, here we
are in the March nineteen seventy six, and we are
knee deep in it in honor of the dog out there.
Here's a new I got it. Hello, Henry, I'd like

(00:53):
you to meet me at the station as soon as possible.
And Brad just arrived, and I want to talk to
the both of you about spring Hill. Jack went Ant's
in town. Yes, I asked her to come. Do of
you know this guy better than anyone. How soon can
you be here? How about ten? Wow? I can't believe
he called Anne. He must be pretty desperate to rely

(01:15):
on us, but I guess he can't afford a repeat
of last time, None of us can. I haven't seen
an since we graduated. Meeting at the police station seems
like a good idea. I can be pretty sure Jack
won't try anything there, and it's not like I have
a choice. M h, Hey, how are you feeling thank

(01:37):
and pregnant. It was on the phone, Chief Spencer, and
he asked me to come to the station. I said, yes,
what do you think i'd say? But your wife didn't
want you involved. I don't want to be involved. But
it's not like I have a choice. You've never deal.
There's something else you should know what? He called Anne Pray. Yes,

(02:02):
she's in town. She's going to meet me there too.
You know what, I don't don't even care one more thing.
I need your car today. Mine won't start perfect way
to start the day. I'm gonna go finish cutting all
my makeup, just strop me off at the office. I'm

(02:24):
just gonna get some papers out of my car. I'll
be right back. Now that it's light out, it's easier
to see the car. As much as I was expecting
a bloody murder scene, it's not as bad as I thought.
Maybe I should clean off the blood. But what if

(02:45):
there's evidence. If Rachel finds out Springley old Jack was
this close, she'll lose her mind. Fuck, she's right, he's
already taken over my life. Where is it? Ah, there
it is. I'll cover up for now with a moon blanket,
I'd hate to know there was a fingerprint I messed up.

(03:07):
As long as I leave the car here, I won't
be driving the murder sing across the Tanna, and that
would buy me suitime to think, at least until I
know what I'm dealing with. Are you ready? Yeah, let's go.

(03:30):
M the entire way to her office, Rachel has instead
of were I know she's angry. I still look glance
here and there, and when she wasn't looking, she's just

(03:51):
staring straight ahead. I don't blame her. She doesn't have
to be psychic to know. Going to the police station
is only going to give me in deeper. We have
so much history together, and spring heel Jack hangs over
all of it like a shadow. At least I've learned
you can't have a shadow without light. Rachel provides that

(04:12):
for me. Yeah, you never learned mistakes. That's not true.
You ever learned from me? That might be true. Pulling
up to the police station is strange. I haven't been
here since the last go around. Thank god. I haven't

(04:33):
had a reason. Something about the cops. Maybe it's the
bad taste they left in my mouth, and its sixties,
but I'm not thrilled to hang out with the press
is staked out in a little corner of the parking lot.
I'm grateful they don't seem to notice me. I don't
think they know my car, but if anyone was looking forward,
it's a small bonus that I took Rachel's ride. Walking

(04:59):
the and I quickly realized there are some places that
have a certain smell. They're not the kind of smells
you can even describe to someone, but when you smell them,
you instantly remember where you were and how you felt
the first time. The police station smelled accurate, like someone
found something that had gone bad and a refrigerator and
tried to cover up with too much bleach. I think

(05:22):
Rachel would chalk that up to emotional memory, which made
me smirk. Maybe I did learn something from her, after all,
not enough to stay away. Walking through the familiar hallways,
the green and white checkered linoleum reminded me of Alice
in Wonderland. It all made sense in some fucked up way.
The spring heel Jack is the red Queen. He isn't

(05:44):
only shouting off with their heads, He's carrying out the
orders himself. I passed a handful of officers on my
way to Chief Spencer's office. I wasn't a welcome sight.
I nodded their way and said hello. They did nod back.
Standing outside she Spencer's office, I could see through glass
Anne was already waiting inside. I was about to knock,

(06:08):
but realized, damn it, I need a minute. I was
swearing the standing outside the door, and I went from
excitement to dread in a single second. I haven't seen
Anne in years. To see her now saying hello and smiling.
The last time I saw her was when I told

(06:28):
her I sold the book. She wasn't smiling then. Seeing
her now, I'm hoping the old adage, it's it's right
and tiny heels all wounds. I mean, hi, Henry, you
look good. That was a lie. She looked great. She
was beautiful. She had really come into her own and

(06:52):
became a woman. She definitely wasn't the college girl. I
remember you look good too. Marriage agrees with you, i'd
like to think. So I hate to break this reunion up,
but I called you both here for a reason. Sit alright, Look,
I'm not going to dance around this spring heel Jack
is back. We have at least one confirmed victim, and

(07:13):
as far as I'm concerned, you two have blood on
your hands, especially you Henry. You took money for writing
your book blood money. Look, we didn't ask for him
to kill on our campus, but he did. All we
do is report on it. That's right. We were just
doing our jobs, following the story you made Spring heel
Jack famous household name. You both meddled in the first investigation.

(07:33):
Don't think I forgot cost my daughter her life against
my better judgment, I'm asking for your help. I tried
to play down. I was sure Spring heel Jack was back.
Who else would visit me last night? Do you have
any suspects? Take a look. Do you remember John Dancy,

(07:55):
the sophomore who found Gail Kerman. Didn't you investigate him
in six eight? Yeah, he was a person of interest.
Almost everyone on that campus was investigated at one point
or another. Here's his file. Mhm. I know he went
getting on. Yeah. After he dropped out of college, he
was drafted dishonorable discharge. Turns out he was hooked on drugs,

(08:17):
bounced in and out of jail for some petty crimes,
but also had a history of violence. But Spring Heeled Jack,
why the hell not. While he did his tour spring
Hill Jack didn't kill But look at this Dancey got discharged.
Now he's out and Jack is back. The timing seems
about right, it does, doesn't it. He knew Chelsea they

(08:39):
had classes together. I had new Sharon pulled the nineteen
six class roster and schedule. Look are we sure it's
not a coincidence? How do we know if it's even Jack?
Can't it just be a copycat? Does this look like
the work of a copycat? I saw what he was holding,
and it caught me off guard. I could few of

(09:00):
my heart beating through my chest. I tried to swallow,
but I couldn't. Must hear any spit. It was a
plastic bag with half a torn letter inside, like familiar.
Oh my god. That's when I knew, even if I
had any doubts, he was right. This was definitely the
work of Springheel Jack. I made a copy of the

(09:21):
spring Hill Jack file. I'd appreciate it. If you both
take a look, we will. But this seems unorthodox. Why
not put detectives on this? I can, and I will.
But this isn't just a case. It's person you You
knew Chelsea. These officers around here, they never got a
chance to meet her. Yea, God, I haven't been to

(09:53):
the Grinders since I graduated. It's like a snapshot in time.
The place hasn't changed that how stood isn't as good
as I remembered. Dad hasn't changed a bit either. What
has changed is you now know the food and Boston.
It's better than we share it. You're probably right, so
how you being? I've been following your career some pretty

(10:16):
impressive journalism there. Thanks. I'm proud of the work I've done.
Married h No, I came close a couple of times,
but I've never found the right person. I'm a career girl.
I realized a long time ago. I can have it
both ways. The story always comes first. It's hard to

(10:38):
find someone that wants to wait up all hours of
the night for you to make a deadline. Right, So
are we going to make bullshit small talk all night?
We're going to do this. We need to clear there.
What do you mean, Henry? We were in it together,
you and I we were a team, and you know what,
people who worked together the way we did don't screw
each other over. You're right, I fun death. I was

(11:01):
young and blew it. You were one of my closest friends,
and at the time the book deal, it just seemed
like my way out and at the moment, that's all
I could see a way out. I just I just
want to apologize. I know you were really upset that
I wrote the book without telling you. It wasn't intentional.

(11:23):
It became an obsession. When they didn't catch spring heel Jack.
I felt like if I wrote the book, somehow, somehow,
it all makes sense exactly, but it didn't. Didn't know
the book was a hit, but it took a massive
toll on my life. My relationships suffered. Rachel and I

(11:44):
almost split. It left me with writer's block. So that's why. Yeah,
that's why I went into teaching new Sharon offered me
a position I couldn't turn it down. Made a nice
headline for the board. Prodigal son returns to his academic roots.
There's nothing wrong with that. It's good to give it back.
I wish that's how I felt, not get it back.

(12:07):
I'm taking They're going to be a father. That's amazing. Yeah,
it is, isn't it. I'm happy for you. Everything's still
good with Rachel. Yeah, we eloped after the book came out.
Her father still wasn't on board with her marrying a
white guy. At the time, it seemed like the best

(12:29):
idea eventually came around, especially when I had a best
seller on the New York Times list. What could possibly
go wrong? That's what I thought? So are we good?
I we'll have to boiler makers just like old times.
I hate to change the subject, but can we talk
about cheef Spencer? He seemed a little unhinged today. I'm

(12:50):
sure this is hard for him to handle. Don't you
remember what it was like when she disappeared? It was
pretty awful. Two boiler makers? Anything else over good? Thanks?
I remember what happened to Chelsea like it was yesterday. Hey, Henry,

(13:12):
this just came for you. Thanks. Where did it come from?
No idea. It was sitting on the front steps when
I walked in. I was at my desk when I
received my first care package. It wasn't an homeloone. It
was a brown cardboard shot box. I picked it up
and didn't realize at first the bottoms wet, But when

(13:32):
I looked down, I saw the dark red drops of
blood that dripped onto my pants. Ship and get over here.
What is it? The two of us looked at each other.
We didn't know what to do at first. Is that
an envelope? On heard? Yeah, it's not all here. It's
been torn in half. It looks like I had the

(13:53):
left side. Half of the writing is missing. Can you
make out what it says? I'm not sure, Hope in
the box, it's a hand. It was the left hand
of a woman, neatly chopped off at the wrist. Oh
my god, no, the ring I know that ring and
knew right away on the middle finger was a peace

(14:15):
sign ring. What we didn't know was across town at
the police station. Captain Spencer got a match in ox. Yeah,
this just came for you. Just put it on my desk.
Is this what is this? Is this a joke? Je?

(14:38):
By the time he opened the letter, he found out
what we already knew. Chelsea was dead. We had each
received the one hand. The letter was torn in half,
but it wasn't hard to figure out the meeting. The
left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing.
In other words, we had no idea what was going
on or what we were up against. Spring Leo Jack

(14:59):
was just messing with us now and he took out
Chelsea in the process. He knew she was the one
person that would upset us and angered the cops. Mission accomplished.
Why did he contact you, Henry? I don't know. They
have to assume he's been reading the paper. I talked

(15:21):
to Captain Spencer. How is he not good? I don't
think it's set in yet, but he's more determined than
ever to catch the son of a bitch. Now we're
gonna do whatever we can to help. What do you
too know so far? We left Chelsea last night. We
had no idea. I know that no one blames you.

(15:42):
Are we sure it's Did they find her? This is
the first time we found out someone was well, you know,
before there was a body. No but New Sharon's finest.
They're combing this campus like nobody's business. But her murderers,
like the others. The bodies somewhere on the grounds. Dean

(16:02):
Edwards was right, it was only a matter of time.
Because of the overnight snowfall, Chelsea's remains have been lightly
dusted with a foot of shallow snow over here. I
think I found something. Oh my god, when I think

(16:25):
of it now, how they found her? It's even more terrifying.
Chelsea had been forced to make a snow into her
hands must have already been severed, because the streaks of
frozen blood left behind gave the top portion of her
body a pair of bloody ways. You have a situation.
We need back up. We need a tech fraternity house
a six street entrance. Come quick. As usual, the m

(16:48):
O stayed the same, she had been decapitated. At this
time it was different Springfield. Jack drew a bloody halo
where her head should have been. It was sadistic and
now it was some ball against some twist, that sort
of the imagery. We didn't know if it was Jack's
way of saint Chelsea went to heaven, or if he
was just getting sicker. One thing we did know, he

(17:10):
was getting more violent. H it's cold out. Can we
go inside? Henry? Sorry, I was just thinking about a
snow angel. He saw us, Rachel, he was watching. Can

(17:33):
you imagine how Captain Spencer is feeling right now? Do
you think it's safe to even be out here? You
could be watching us right now. Come on, let's go
inside for what it's worth. I hope Captain Spencer takes
some time off. I feel awful for him. I really

(17:56):
like Chelsea. I know I did too. Dean Edwards said
he wasn't going to but he was more determined than
ever to find Jack. I don't think that sounds very healthy.
I don't disagree, but he's lost his daughter. Who were
we to tell him not to find her killer? I
know you're the psyche major, but it might be the

(18:18):
only way he's going to get past this. I hope
he finds the guy. I'm exhausted me too. Today was
almost too much to take. Let's get some sleep. I
have early classes in the morning. Okay, if you can
try not to wake me. I pretended to go to sleep.

(18:41):
Rachel and I had have been getting along around this time.
Things were tense, but one thing we could agree on
was the only way Captain Specter was going to get
past this or get any closure was to find springing
old Jack. It was probably his only hope. What we
didn't know then, and what I was about to find doubt,
is that he was going to get a second chance,

(19:02):
and God help anyone that stood in his way. That
included John Dancy, the sophomore who found Gail Kerman's body.
It turns out he knew Gail, Charlotte, and even Chelsea.
It was a small school, so there were a lot
of people that knew all three. The only difference was
he found the first body. He was now what they

(19:24):
call a person of interest, and Captain Spencer had to
take no prisoner's approach, depending this on him, no matter
what the collateral damage. M Good morning, New Sharon. Night's

(19:47):
not much good about today. He might have heard another
student was murdered twenty four hours ago. I have to
ask you what kind of a world do we live
in when leaders are assassinated, students are murdered, and killers
roamed free. Humph, Henry, I'm talking to you. Police are

(20:08):
on campus today. They're looking for anyone they can, so
be careful out there, and they keep they have their batons,
and they are just itching for a reason to bash
someone's head in. So here's one from what the fuck?
I know? I was up all night, but was I delirious?
Rachel told me once that for every twenty four hours

(20:29):
were sleep deprived, you lose some cognitive ability. Is that
what's happening? The cold shower always wakes me up. Rachel's
place was so old it didn't matter if I want
a hot shower when it's snowed out. I didn't have
any options. I stood there in the shower and thanking.

(20:50):
The icy water running up my body. For some reason
didn't bother me. It was like watching someone else take
a freezing cold shower, like an out of audience variance.
I didn't have any new answers, and I didn't know
why I thought any would come to me. I told off,
it's not the rest of the day at my place.
Chelsea's death hit me a little harder than I thought.

(21:16):
I can't remember how many beers I had that day.
I guess it was like I was holding my own
memorial service for Chelsea. I was twenty two years old.
When you're twenty two, you're not supposed to be figuring
out how to more. There was a campus wide search
for Chelsea's body. It disrupted everything. Dean Edwards wanted to

(21:37):
close the campus, but now Captain Spencer insisted classes continued.
He was worried he might lose the trail of the
killer if everyone dispersed. Hello found her what where? He
placed her head on the crown of Rontein Edward's office

(21:58):
once the snow thought he actually saw from his window
that was one more note. What did say? I said
everyone wants to go to heaven and no one wants
to die. Jesus, that's fucking creepy. Her eyes refers an
open just staring straight at him. That's not all. The
police picked up John dancing, and from what I heard,
they wrapped him up a bit. Got to help him

(22:19):
if he did it. M hm. So I know this
isn't under the best of circumstances, but it's nice to
see you. And yeah, it's been way too long for
what it's worth. I'd like to apologize when I did
with the book. I got it. Lord knows, I've tried. Yeah,

(22:43):
I can't. I feel bad about how the whole thing
went down. You wrote most of the stories, I know,
but she was signed them when the publisher reached out,
and she had said sometime maybe. But that was then
and this is now. And to be honest, I'm happy
with my career. Let's want apology you every eight years
is enough for me. Who knows that I've been a
part of that craziness back then. I might have gotten

(23:05):
stuck here too. I'm sorry, Henry, I didn't mean it
that way. No, you're right, I am stuck. I haven't
written anything since then. I lost my publishing deal, and
before I knew it, I got myself tied up teaching
students at Knew Sharon how to write instead of doing
it myself. What's that saying? Which one those that can't
do teach? You're being too hard on yourself. You wrote

(23:28):
a good book. It's soul not everyone can say that.
Wait a minute, I got an idea. Spring heel Jack
has presented us with a new opportunity, meaning you and
I we'll write the follow up. Oh, Henry, I I
don't know. I'm just here as a courtesy, and you
can't tell me. A part of you didn't hate me
for getting published. Okay, a small part of me hated

(23:51):
I knew it. You're so full of shit. Let me
make it right. We're already part of the investigation here.
We already have something to go on. What is this, Jesus, Henry,
this is fucking serious. Why didn't you show this as
chief Spencer he reached out to. It's elite. No, no,

(24:13):
it's evidence. It's only evidence if it's real. It looks
pretty real to me. There's a dead girl, then let's
prove it. I'll make you a deal. They haven't found
the missing girl's head yet. We know the first time
Jack sent a letter, he tore it in half and
buried Chelsea's head in front of Dean Edward's office. If
you come with me right now, I'll turn the letter

(24:35):
over to the police. Why don't we have one more
drink and go down to campus and see if we
can't dig up some evidence. I'm not drunk enough for that.
Yes you are. No, I'm not, Yes you are. I
can't do that, Yes you can. They see out here,

(25:01):
just watch your step, say going to be a dad,
That's what they tell me. Are you excited? And I
think so. I'm just hoping I don't screw the kid up.
And I'm sure you want having a kid. It's a
lot of responsibility. So much of a life is out
of your control. What do you mean Look at us

(25:22):
right now. Someone's daughter was murdered and we're looking in
the same place someone else's daughter was murdered eight years ago.
Some things are left to face that. And are we
are we bad people? You sure we're in the right places?
Thought keean Edward's office, And I think so. It's hard

(25:44):
to tell what the fog and the lights off ship.
Are you okay? Yeah? I tripped over something. Can you
feel anything? Just shining the flashlight over here? Ship? Not
in my eyes on the ground. I sorry, right right about.
I don't know. I soakered up quick. It didn't take

(26:04):
long for us to find her, the top of her
head shutting up just above the ground, her eyes wide
and open when the light hit them. I prayed her
pupils with dialing and she crawled about out of the snow.
We have to call the police. It's him. You're not
watching about it? Spring? Heel Jack was definitely back, And

(26:27):
now I know he's been watching. In fact, in the
eight years since this started, I'm worried he may have
never stopped. Yeah, did it? Strawberry Spring is a production

(26:54):
of Audio Up Media and I Heart Radio, based on
a short story by Stephen Kim. Executive produced by Lee Metzker,
Jared Gootstat and Philip Alberstatt, Written and directed by Lee Metzker,
starring Garrett Headland, Milo Ventimilia Horizon, Guardiola, Sydney Sweeney, Ken Marino,
Al Madrigal, and Breck Passenger. Audio Up in house production
by Jordana Blick Franzheim and Laura Rama Day, edited by

(27:17):
Kerry Caulfield, Eric and Jeremiah zimmermank sound design and mixed
by Jeremiah Zimmerman, scored by Jeff Peters. Songs and music
by Jared Botstatt and Jesse Stepenberg. Strawberry Spring is published
in Stephen King's short story collection night Shift, available in
paperback and e book from Anchor Books, and as an
audio book from Penguin Random House Audio. For the fullest
of production credits, please visit audio dot com. You can

(27:39):
find more podcasts from my Heart Radio on the I
heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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