Chapter Four: The Ghost

Show Notes



Late into a night of wandering, The Wanderer sees Andrew, standing just ahead. But no matter how loudly he calls, he can’t seem to get Andrew to hear.



  • T.H. Ponders is The Wanderer
  • Jeanette Berry is The Forest


Written and Sound Designed by T.H. Ponders. Produced by Jordan Stillman. Music and Score by T.H. Ponders.


 Chapter 4: The Ghost



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This episode of The Wanderer was produced on the stolen lands of the Massachusett, Miami, Menominee, Peoria, and Potawatomi peoples. But the struggle for indigenous rights and sovereignty extends far beyond our own borders. If you enjoy today’s episode, consider joining us in making a donation to Land is Life, an Indigenous-led non-profit working to support the rights, self-determination, and participation in policy-making of Indigenous people all around the world. You can make a donation today by visiting, or by clicking on the link in the show notes. Thank you. 


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It would be nice if the wander always started in the morning, after a restful night’s sleep. 


[The sound of the Wanderer running, and the drums of the Wander underneath. These bursts of sound are short and interspersed between the Wanderers’ thoughts.] 



But of course, scarcity drives action when your existence, and the life of your loved one, is on the line. 


[The sound of the wander pulses again.]



It’s not really safe to wander at night. It’s certainly safe to wander without having slept. But safety and survival are rarely kin. 


[The sound of the wander pulses again.]



When the wander calls in the middle of the night, I try to get up and go. 


[The sound of the wander pulses again.]



When I’ve been at it all day, and the pulse of the forest licks at my heels and spurs me on into the darkness, I push myself to follow. 


[The sound of the wander pulses again.]



I don’t know when I’ll catch it again. I don’t know when I’ll see him again. So I go. I press on. I wander even when it’s late at night. Even when I’m prone to fall for the forest’s tricks and trials. Even when I’m prone to make a mistake. 


[The sound of the wander pulses again, but this time it stays, shrinking to reveal the sounds of the night around it, all moving in rhythm with the forest and the wander, the Wanderer on a part of the tapestry before us].



There’s a part of me that wants to be proud of the long stretches—proud of the endurance, of the distance, proud of going so long without food, without sleep, forgetting to drink water, forgetting that my body has limits, that my feet can only take me so far, proud that I can keep going, beyond the pain. Until the consequences. And there are always consequences. 


This wander started when the sun was only the smallest sliver on the edge of the horizon, and the forest still kept her own darkness. The wander continues on, though the sun set three, maybe four hours ago, and the forest shares her darkness with the world.


[The Wanderer and the wander come to a sudden halt. We can hear a soft song off in the distance. It’s a bit difficult to hear.] 


WANDERER [under his breath] 

No… no… no, no, no, no. Be gone. 


[He pauses a moment.]


WANDERER [timid] 

An… Andrew? Is that you?


[He pauses a moment, waiting for a reply.]


WANDERER [internal] 

It’s… It’s him. Facing away from me. One hundred feet on. It’s his hair, his body, his… him. It’s him. I’m sure. Or perhaps…



Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps indeed.



If I could just catch a bit of the Wander to reach him. To get closer. To see his face…


[The drums of the wander and the wind can be heard just off to the right. The Wanderer begins to run circling to the right. Andrew’s song moves from the center distance to the left.]


THE DEVIL [muted, just a thought as he runs] 

Careful, careful now… [He begins laughing, a little maniacally, fading off into the distance]


[The Wanderer and the wander stop again. Andrew is still in the distance, maybe a little closer, but still far enough that it’s a struggle to hear clearly, as it blends in with the whipping wind.]


WANDERER [calling out again, slightly more desperate] 

Andrew! Andrew! 


WANDERER [internally] 

His back is turned. But it’s him. I could scream and he wouldn’t hear me. The wind is carrying it away. And I can’t move forward without cutting the forest…


[The wander starts to pull further to the right.]



No… no… not away… please… he’s right there… please… please…


[The wander slowly moves to the left, towards Andrew’s song.]


WANDERER [beneath his breath] 

Thank you… [calling out, but quieter and less sure every time] ANDREW!.. Andrew!.. Andrew… Andrew? Andrew? Andrew. Andrew… Andrew…


[The song is getting closer.]


WANDERER [internally] 

Why… Why can’t he hear me? Why won’t he turn around? Why won’t he let me see his face? I’m right here! Why can’t he hear me? Why can’t he hear me?


[The Wanderer and Andrew’s song pass each other.] 


WANDERER [internally] 

I never take my eyes off of him… but I can only ever see the back of his head… Like he’s turning away… but I never see him move…


[As he moves to the left, Andrew’s song moves to the right, receding into the distance. The Wanderer starts crying as the wander stops again.]


WANDERER [internally] 

I go right past him. Still, he’s facing away. So close. I’m so close. I could… I could get to him if I could… Maybe if I just… Maybe…


WANDERER [aloud, exhausted, through tears] 

Maybe… Maybe I could… Just one step closer… Maybe he could hear me… Maybe I could…


WANDERER [internally] 

And then I take a step.


[A branch snaps beneath the Wanderer’s step. Andrew’s song evaporates instantly.] 


WANDERER [externally, horrified] 

A cut.



And the forest always cuts back…


[No wander. No camp. No music. Just darkness. And silence. And fear.]