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October 13, 2021 30 mins

Dean Edwards can’t keep the campus open any longer. As the fog rolls in, the final murder victim looms large over everyone. Henry finally confronts his past, tying up loose ends and discovering Springheel Jack’s motivation. With Rachael in labor, he looks towards his future as a father, while the ghosts of his past continue to haunt him.

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Speaker 1 (00:08):
You were listening to Strawberry Spring, based on a short
story by Stephen King. See Edwards. You asked to see us.
Come back later if you're busy, Take a seat, make
yourself comfortable. I was just about to read the latest
copy of the New Sharon Times. I thought you might

(00:30):
care to join me. New Sharon Times, March Night. Henry,
you you're right here that five girls have all been murdered.
Gail Kerman, Charlotte Foster, Adele Perkins, Chelsea Spencer, and most recently,

(00:51):
Hannah Gray. Ages range from eighteen to twenty years old,
victims of New Sharon's very own Spring Heeled Jack. We
still have no leads, and the campus of New Sharon
remains open, a virtual hunting ground for a killer that
has a blood lust that can't or won't be satiated.

(01:12):
That last line, it might be my favorite. It's very poetic, Henry.
I don't know who's doing more damage at this point.
The two of you were Spring Heeled Jack. Either way,
it's left me no choice. I'm going to announce that
spring break will be moved up a week. I just
don't see any other way but to clear out the campus.
I need you to put that in tomorrow's paper, and

(01:35):
do me a favor, try to keep the editorializing to
a minimum. All I care about is making sure everyone
gets home safely. Can I quote you on that? Do
you want to graduate? Not what I was thinking. When
we are called in, some conversations come to an inevitable conclusion.

(01:58):
We scattered out at the office like frightened sheep before
a storm. We were going to be abandoning the campus,
handing over an empty and haunted legacy to police looking
for clues, and one dark specter leaving a trail of
death and sorrow in his wake. I can't believe it's
only been a few weeks since this all started. It
does seem like it's been forever since we were in

(02:19):
the name Spring Neo Jack. I walked with Anne, but
I felt very much alone. It was hard to believe
how much could change in such a short period of time.
Five women were dead, countless lives had been shattered, and
there was an exponential amount of damage that I wouldn't
begin to understand for years to come. The word inevitable

(02:42):
kept echoing in my head. Captain, It's it's me, Yeah,

(03:06):
I know what can I do for you? You're not
gonna want to hear this. But with the latest victim, yes,
that's her. This puts me in a terrible predicament. I
can close the campus and and hope that's the end
of the murders, or I or you can give me
and my man a chance to see this through. I
don't know if these kids. They have a hard enough

(03:29):
time getting to classes now worrying about a killer. I
think we all need a break. I need a break.
Listen to me. If you let them go home now,
we may never catch and bring hill Jack. You have
to give me a little more time. He's one of them.
I can feel any in my bones. I'm a cop
and sometimes cases get salt on a hunch, and I

(03:53):
have that hunch. I will catch him. Come hell or
I water Earl. You may be right. I can't imagine
what you're going through. I feel for you, I really
really do, not for me, But can I be frank
I I think you can use a break too. We

(04:17):
need a reset, all of us. If they all go home,
there will be no one left for him to kill.
For to catch. My mind is made up. I have
to go. Look. I am sorry for your loss. Closing

(04:44):
the campus down. What do you think I think it
all goes away. It doesn't. It's not possible. What would
you have them do? Keep everyone on campus? He'll kill again,
he asked. What makes you so sure he'll kill until
he gets caught. Isn't that what you would do. That's
a strange question. I wouldn't kill. We should talk about

(05:05):
what us. And there is no us. There never was
and there never will be except there was. Okay, I
have to go. Let me know if you need help
with the paper. I turned and walked away. I wanted
to look back and see if Anne was still there.
In my mind's eye, she's still standing there, and and

(05:27):
I split up. She could handle getting the paper together,
announcing an early spring break. Not much to do there,
that will take about ten minutes. Right in the headline,
it's what wasn't being said that made everything so uneasy.
The wind really picked up that day. The snow flurries
hit hard. I bundled myself up and decided to stop

(05:49):
by my apartment to grab some things. It was a
safe bed that I'd be spending the night at Rachel's.
New Sharon was old, full of tradition, and in the
middle of winter, at the beginning of spring. It was
also full of old power transformers and shifting knob into wiring,
the kind that had a habit of failing when winter

(06:10):
went on a bit too long. I remember entering my
place to a power outage. For a brief moment, I
wondered if spring heeled Jack had something to do with
this too. First, the fog now blackout. I tried the
light switch a couple of times, but no luck. I
had a flashlight somewhere in the kitchen and a transistor

(06:32):
radio nearby. I stumbled over a chair trying to find
the bold. Fortunately for me, the radio took batteries, so
at least I had something to do to pass the time.
I turned on the radio, hoping to get a weather update,
but all I got was static. Maybe the color station
lost power too. I grabbed the radio, change of clothes,

(06:53):
a cheap bottle of wine, and headed over to see Rachel.
It was called out Chris, the kind of air that
stung your lungs every time you took a breath. I
thought about each breath I took on the way over.
I thought about the victims when they walked, when they
took their glass breath and then before I knew it,

(07:15):
I found myself standing on Rachel's store step. I had
no idea how long I've been walking or how I
got there. That's it, forever did it. It's harder to
find this place in the dark than you think. Candles
how romantic. Where's the power out here too? Yes, there

(07:37):
is nothing more romantic than writing my mid turn paper
by candle light only one glass. I really have to
get my side paper done before spar break. Early Trauma
and Childhood Development a study in coping mechanisms. That's a
lofty title, it is. But I need you to get

(07:57):
back to me now and forth from my peaches to
get out of order. Okay, but only if we finish
our wine and forget about school for one night. Deal
One night. Oh h that night that her moment had
dropped fifteen degrees, I woke up next to Rachel. It

(08:21):
was cold in her apartment. The old radiator and pipes
must have frozen. I shivered as I watched the warm
vapor of my breath dissipated into the moonlight bedroom. I
couldn't sleep. I don't know what it was, but something
was in the air. I don't know the thing about Vietnam.
Why aren't we bringing our boys home? It's not our war.

(08:42):
Old men are dying. Rachel slept soundly. There was some
sound coming from the radio. Kevin Hartigan was coming in
loud and clear, so loud, in fact, I couldn't understand
how it didn't wake Rachel. I jumped out of it.
I realized I must have left the goddamn thing on

(09:03):
when I took it from my apartment. I grabbed it
off the nightstand. I tried to turn it off. I
turned it so hard I broke the knob. I didn't
want to wake Rachel, so I rushed into her living room.
Kevin was relentless, angry. From what I could make out,
he was yelling the entire time about everything and anything.

(09:23):
Five women from murder in Cold Blood, no subspects, a
sniveling chiller tiding behind his damn in sight the murders
and spring heeled Jack. He'll catch him sooner or later.
He'll mess up, won't Henry? What are you talking to me?
I couldn't tell if I was asleep, awake, or somewhere

(09:45):
in between, a dream, sleep walking through, just visiting someone
else's dream. And then when I couldn't take it any longer.
I turned the radio over and opened the compartment. I
was about to take out the batteries when I saw,
under a shaft of moonlight there weren't any batteries in
the radio. But how I must have been training. I

(10:09):
had to have been training. There wasn't much else to do,
and now I was quite away. That's when I saw
Rachel's folder in the warm red glow of the firelight.
I opened it. It was like opening Pandora's box. What
I read couldn't be put back. Subject Henry Denton, aged

(10:32):
twenty two. He has managed to overcome many struggles, the
loss of both parents and a sibling. For most subjects,
one or two personal setbacks would be enough to break
an ordinary person, but Henry din has created his own
coping mechanisms to help him continue on a productive path.

(10:54):
His survival instincts are primeval. Over the last three months,
the subject has been pretty herring to graduate through college
with a degree in journalism, he has also been thrust
into a police investigation by association of his involvement with
the college newspaper. He chooses to bury himself in his
work rather than face real world consequences and overcompensates for

(11:18):
personal relationships with avoidance, sleep deprivation, and mild behavioral issues
culminating an O c D. Maybe the result of a
debilitating the head injury suffered during adolescence. Subject is in
a long term relationship that shows second thoughts regarding the
future of that relationship, and maybe to hit it by

(11:40):
a colleague. She thinks I'm having an affair with Anne.
But you do think of Anne is more than a friend,
don't you. I don't know, wrong answer, Henry, I said,
I don't know, But would you be willing to leave Rachel?
I know, away a clean break? You might say cut time,
if you know what I mean. No, not Rachel than Anne.

(12:03):
Perhaps No. Well, you can't have your cake and eat
it too. That's not how life works. Someone will have
to suffer. If not Rachel and Anne, then who then who? Henry?
You You've been suffering your entire life. I didn't have

(12:28):
the answer. I stared at the bedroom door, closed tight.
I knew Rachel was fast asleep behind, and I didn't
know what to make of what I was reading. But
I decided I couldn't stay and read anymore about me.
Rachel's breathing was so loud I could hear it from
the other room, pounding in my skull, aching in my brain.

(12:51):
The migraine hurt, my vision blurred. I wanted to make
it stopped, but how could I make the pain? The
noise I make haven't go away. Henry, who are you
talking to? Huh? No one? I was reading. Oh my god, Henry,

(13:14):
you've been analyzing me this entire time. I haven't been
analyzing you. I've I've been studying you everything. You've overcome,
the accident, losing your family, the orphanage, all of it.
And now look at you. You've put yourself through college
and you're about to start in life. Life is me?

(13:37):
Are you mad? I don't know what I am. Maybe
I should read your paper and find out, Henry. I
need some mayor. But it's freezing out. It's colder in here.
I stepped outside, hoping some fresh air would help. I
expected the fog to hit me in the face. Like
so many other nights in Strawberry spring first began but

(14:00):
stead the whole northern New England area was belted by
a shrieking norther that began in sleep and ended in
the foot of snow. I trudged through the streets, holding
my arms close to my sides, moving them up and
down to keep warm. I was under dress, but at
two in the morning, Couis m'm I didn't want to
go back to Rachel's fird coat. I'd rather suffer in silence.

(14:23):
I was so busy to generate the body heat that
I failed to realize I was walking past all of
the murders. Dean Edward's voice kept ringing in my ears.
Con Lung Charlotte Foster two, I didn't Perkins three, Chelsea
Spencer four in a grave. I passed the first murder
scene where it all began, the Animal Sciences parking lot.

(14:45):
I ran through the quad, past the dorms, through the
narrow pathways of the buildings, until I finally stood and
stared at Dean Edward's window, where Hannah gras dismembered head
was found. I saw my reflection staring back at the
It was like an out of body experience, the kind
of Ragent talks about. I felt like I was watching
someone else run across the grounds. I could see, I

(15:09):
could see what they saw, hear what they heard, but
it wasn't And then how the body experience, and I
wasn't sleep walking, It wasn't a dream. It was real.
The clues added up. The killer had been staring everyone
in the face the entire time. It wasn't some monster
from a movie that goes from a book or some

(15:29):
agent had cursed Spring heel Jack was a man. He
looked just like you. He lived among us, He killed
at will. He was no one, and he was everyone
all at once. And when I found myself standing in
the middle of campus staring at my reflection in the
glass of Dean Edward's office window, it was overwhelming. Awoke

(15:51):
from a never ending Nightmary and eerie glow surrounded me.
Is snow gathered on my shoulders. The vintage glass panes
were distorted, and I did recognize the person staring back
at the I panic. I picked up a rock and
did what I could to make him disappear. As the
window shattered into a thousand pieces, the sound woke me.

(16:12):
My subconscious took over, and as soon as the image
staring back at me vanished, it put Spring heeled Jack
to sleep for another eight years until another Strawberry Spring
came to pass. Who is it, Who's there? I could

(16:33):
see a shape through the fog. But I can't believe
my eyes. It can't be not after all this time,
I missed you, Henry, Dad, you're alive. But that's impossible. Henry, Hey,
can you hear me? My god, hang out, Henry. We

(17:05):
don't have time for this. Henry. There is a killer
on the loose. Get off the past whole. You're running
out of time where Henry, wake up? Oh my god,

(17:25):
I remember it was you. You're the reason they died.
You were chasing us. It's all your fault. You tried
to kill Mom. You killed them. It's all coming back
to me now, like a bad dream. Only it wasn't
a dream. He's here, pure evil, standing right in front
of me. It's cooled out. Let's not attract attention. Come on,

(17:48):
let's get in the car. Words warm, and let's talk
about it. It's been almost fifteen years. For all that time.
I blamed myself. I thought it was my fault we crashed.
I didn't see the dear, I didn't warn mom and time.
I thought it was my fault. But they didn't die
because of me, did they. They died because of you.

(18:09):
They died because of you. Are What's what's wrong? Oh?
My head. It hurts. You've been alive all this time.
You're alive. You're alive, and they're dead. You were beating her,
hurting her, causing her pain. I saw it all growing up.

(18:30):
I learned from you. I saw it all. It was
a long time ago. I've changed, okay. I've come to
make peace with you, with my past. I'm not violent anymore.
Don't call me shun. We can get past that. I shouldki. Yeah, Henry,

(19:07):
holy shit, Oh my god, can you hear me? What's
your name? John? I need nay the parking lot immediately.
A man has been stabbed. He what have you done? Rachel?

(19:38):
Where are you in here? I'm upstairs. I'm on my way.
Are you okay? Thank e? There? Here? Are you okay?
Just bloat on your arms. I cut myself on a
card door. I'll be fine. Hey, where's your bay? Never mind?

(19:59):
I see it. Come on, let me help you get downstairs.
We need hurry. My water broke. Put your arm around me.
I got you. She looks scared. Why is she looking
at me like that? Rachel? I set I've got you.

(20:26):
Stay focused. Just breathe, honey. We're only a few minutes
from the hospital. Come on, come on, please him to
be careful. You don't want to come to Henry, Henry

(20:58):
and wake up. Henry. It's me, Kevin, get up. You
still have time, my head. What happened? We happened. What
happened is you and me. I've been trying so hard
to get to you. Look at her, Rachel doesn't look
so good. You should just put her out of her misery,

(21:20):
just like you did with mom. Mom. What are you
talking about? Who are you? You still don't remember? Don't
worry about it. It'll come back to you. It's me, Henry,
It's Kevin. Don't you remember I'm your brother and you
need to hurry up. We're running out of time. Spencer,

(21:52):
we g got all your person of interest, Henry Gain
was in a car accident on Silver Road, white and
hand roaming aar in general. Got it? Thanks? Are you okay?
We've got a second victim from the accident of Pilgrim Road.
Male late twenties to early thirties, head trump, no external bleeding.

(22:14):
Spousal female has my wife the baby? She's gonna be okay?
Justin who likes my wife? She's pregnant. We've already got around.
She's on her way to the hospital. Thank god, can
you stand up? HENRYA you're okay? Yes, Chief Spencer, Please,

(22:39):
I need to get to the hospital. Okay, I'll take
it from here. I went in my car. Would you
get you to the hospital. Yeah? What happened back there?
We got in the nexcident. No, Henry, not there at
the police station. That man, he said he was your mother.

(23:02):
We have to get to Rachel. How far are we?
We'll be there soon. Tell me about your father. There's
nothing to tell. He abandoned us when I was just
a kid. I thought he died in Korea, but that
was just lying. This doesn't look like the way to
the hospital. Henry. Where are we going? Why did you

(23:22):
have a knife? What a knife? I did? You stabbed
your father? I don't like this, Henry. We should make
him stuck and growing up? Were you too close? This
isn't the way to the hospital. We are not going
anywhere until you answer some questions today. That man at

(23:50):
the police station, your father. You didn't just stab him, Henry.
He sliced his throat from year to year, the only
anything holding his head in place. Where some tendons you
look just like a murder victim. A murder victim of
spring Heeled Jack. What are you saying? What am I saying?

(24:12):
These are all the files from the spring Hill Jack murders.
I want you to look at these pictures, Henry. Look
at them. Do you see anything familiar? Do you? Do you? Henry?
Make it stop, Henry. It looks like spring Healed Jack
had his way with him, doesn't it. I want you
to take a closer look. What do you see? I
don't have to come closer. I don't have to take

(24:33):
a book. I already know. But he wants me to
play a game, so I'll play on your mark. It
looks like murder scenes. Henry, it looks like murder scenes.
To get set, actually, Chief Gods, this looks like a
murder scene. Yeah, m maternity ward, how can I help?

(25:13):
Excuse me? My wife was brought in earlier. She was
in labor. What's her name, Rachel Denton. She's in three
fifteen down the hall to your left. Thank you, she
made it here in time. I couldn't forgive myself as
something to happen to No. Oh, thank god, honey, you're okay.

(25:35):
I was so worried. What do you want to meet
your daughter? A daughter? I didn't realize we're going to
have a girl. Yes, yes, I don't. Oh my gosh,
I can't believe we would be daddy's daddy's little girl.

(26:00):
The sound of that terrifies me. Everything I hear it
rings in my ears. The elevator down the hall, the
wheelchairs rolling across the linoleum floor, the phones at the
nurses station, the babies crying out for their mothers, the screams.
I recognize that look, the look of a helpless girl,

(26:25):
her life in my hands, staring back at me. The
last thing I want to do is heard our little
girl and might hope her te tape. She's fine, she's mine.
You can't have her, She'll always be mine. Do we
have to do this now? I can see out the window,

(26:48):
the snow melt running down the gutters. Strawberry spring is back.
Out of the corner of my eye. I can see
the headline on rachel side table. This morning's paper says
a girl was killed on the New Sharon campus near
the Civil War cannons. She was killed family melting snowbag.
She was not old. There. I've been thinking about these

(27:09):
foggy nights and those years ago. My head with an egg,
and I walked from here and passed all the shadows
without shape or substance. We have her, Henry. She's hysterical here.
By the way. Anne was here earlier, Oh she was.
She said she had to move town. She's going to

(27:30):
call you later, something about an inevitable conversation too had
to have and did she lead because she was worried
something would happened to her? Wonder that events. I have
no idea. An inevitable conversation sounds like it could mean anything,

(27:51):
except I don't think it does. It could mean and
it's going to come from me. It could mean she's
going to write a story about spring Neo Jack. You
could mean anything. You couldn't mean. I'm going to have
to find her and ask her myself. Now it's not
the time, but last night, where were you? You can't

(28:12):
disappear on me anymore. I don't want any part of it.
Rachel is upset. It's not that I don't want to
tell her. It's that I can't be sure. I would
never start a go from work. I remember putting my
headlights on to search my way through the fog, but
that's all I remen She would call it a blackout

(28:35):
selective memory. Everything is fine. We don't have to worry
about anything. Nothing is going to change that. I'm not
planning on going anywhere ever. You have no idea how
happy I am to hear you say that. It's just you,
me and our baby and me, Henry. Don't forget about me.

(29:02):
I'm not planning on going anywhere. YEH did it? Strawberry

(29:31):
Spring Executive produced by Lee Metzger, Jared Goodstadt and Philip Alberstadt.
Written and directed by Lee Metzger, starring Garrett Headland, My
Love and Amilia Horizon, Gardiola, Sydney Sweeney, Ken Marino, Al
Madrigal and Breck Bessenger. Audio up in house production by
Georgiana Lck Franzheim and Laura Ramada, Edited by Carry Caulfield,

(29:52):
Eric and Jeremiah's Immerman. Sound design and mix by Jeremiah's Immerman.
Score by Jeff Peters. Original songs in music by Jared Goodstad,
Kubert and Jesse Siebenberg. Strawberry Spring is published in Stephen
King's story collection Night Shift, available in paperback and e
book from Anchor Books, and as an audio book from
Penguin Random House Audio, original score and soundtrack from Strawberry

(30:15):
Spring featuring Daddy Longlegs by Yakuza and the Bear, now
available on the I heart Radio app, Apple Music, Spotify,
or wherever you stream good music. For the full list
of production credits, please visit audio up dot com. You
will find more podcasts from I heart Radio on the
I heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen
to podcasts. Body
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