Check out our episode here! Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy
Niamh is checking in to her room that she'll be living in for the next six weeks as she takes an acting and drama class in London. It's very different here than it is in Ireland, obviously. She's struggling with getting her room as the desk clerk, Derek, doesn't have any "Neeves" registered. She spells her name then, N-I-A-M-H, funny spelling, ain't it? and things get moving again, but then a beautiful young woman struggles down the stairs with a huge trunk, begging to change rooms. Her room on the 10th floor is too high for her terrible fear of heights. Though all the rooms are booked, Niamh offers to swap her second floor space, as long as it's okay with Derek. He doesn't change any information in the register, but allows the swap, and so the girls head up. On the way, Niamh drops a folder full of her class paperwork. Sara, the elegant girl, helps her collect them and they learn that they'll both be starting drama courses in the morning and they plan to go together. Later, after getting settled in her new room, Niamh looks through her paperwork, getting ready to fill in all the forms when she realizes she has Sara's too. She takes them down to her would-be room, knocks, but gets no response. A passerby says he doesn't think anyone's in there, but she tries the door just in case. Niamh enters and discovers Sara dead on the bed.
Derek gives Niamh some tea with sugar to help with her shock and also stands in in-loco-parentis when the PC starts asking her routine questions. It's possible that Niamh is a suspect, but Derek won't have her interrogated at just 16. She uses her busted cell phone to call her mom who wants her to come home immediately, but she wants to stay as that's what her gran, a former actress, would want her to do. Everyone switches to rooms in a different hall to make way for the investigation and then Niamh heads to class. The first lesson is embarrassing and full of icebreakers, and then lunch rolls around. A girl, Jasmine, invited Niamh to sit with her, but instead of it being a friendly conversation, Jasmine immediately starts in on Niamh seeing a dead body and barraging her with questions. She heads off to the bathroom for a cry, spilling soda on everyone at the table as she goes. When she comes out, another girl, Tasha, is waiting on her and/or cleaning the soda off her top. Tasha is friends with Jasmine and thinks she was way too pushy about the murder investigation. That's comforting at least. Niamh lends Tasha a cardigan and the two new friends go to their next class where they learn that they'll be getting work assignments soon. They watch videos of former students talking about their assignments. Maybe they'll get to act as an animal in a zoo... Hopefully not.
After classes are over, Niamh drops her phone off for repairs and goes to the library where she meets Ruth, the librarian, and sees a creepy assistant guy named Will. Ruth is delightful and tells Niamh about a scholarship she should apply for so maybe she can take more courses here after this one. Niamh looks into it and finds she'll need to write an essay for her application, so she'll definitely be back in the library to work on it, and Ruth offers to help her. She leaves then to retrieve her newly repaired cell phone and head back to her room for the evening. The next day, Niamh is excited to get to class and to see her work assignment (a Victorian street museum, cool!) and her new friend Tasha, but she's not there. And her name is missing from the work assignments list. It's blacked out, and so is Sara's. Well that can't be good. We know why Sara's name is missing... does that mean something terrible happened to Tasha too? Yes. Yes it does. Jasmine comes by and says that anyone who makes friends with Niamh gets hurt. Tasha was attacked and is in a coma. She might never wake up.
Niamh skips out on the rest of her day, not interested in being bullied by Jasmine or stared at by the other students for being friends with the victims. She goes to her work assignment early instead, but upon arrival, Geoffrey, the guy in charge, calls her Tasha, saying that he was told Niamh wouldn't be coming. Huh. Simple mistake? She's led on a tour of the underground museum, meets Tommy, another museum volunteer/actor who is really cute, and gets a Victorian dress to wear as her costume, which makes her look eerily like the girl she's pretending to be, so much so that when she sees a portrait of the girl, Jane, she thinks she's looking into a mirror. She's given some notes and things to study and will be all set to return later in the week and get started.
Niamh doesn't want to go back to her new hall yet, still weirded out about finding Sara dead, so she talks to her sister Meghan on the phone for a bit and then goes to the Globe Theatre to watch some Shakespeare. She spots Tommy in the crowd and the two spend the rest of the evening together. He says she must be having a tough time and she says yes then launches into finding Sara's body, but he was talking about Tasha instead and didn't know about Sara at all. So yeah, she is having a tough time, especially in the making-friends department. Near midnight, they decide to part ways, Tommy kissing Niamh's hand in farewell. She takes the looooong escalator down to the tube, but then the power goes out and she can hear someone coming for her. Thinking of every kungfu movie ever, she kicks out at her assailant. Then the power comes back on. Niamh finds a girl with long dark hair and blood streaming down her face. They both scream.
Niamh is in the library now, pondering buying a boat ticket back home. Ruth comes by to check on her and offers to listen if she ever needs to chat. She decides she's not going to book a ticket just yet and goes to a lecture about puppetry and how penny dreadfuls had an impact on the theatre. Here is where she learns about characters in those works, like Frankenstein's monster and Jekyll and Hyde and the Devil and Spring Heeled Jack. Spring Heeled Jack was different from everyone else at the time, white suit, devil beard, blue flames out of his mouth and metal claws. Uh. Yikes. And people still claim to see him around to this day. Double yikes. This makes Niamh think about the girl she saw the night before with the bloody face. Turns out, she had to have emergency surgery where they removed her eye. Triple yikes!
In the library later, Niamh looks for Ruth for help finding newspapers, but runs into creepy Will instead, who tells her Ruth is out. Niamh immediately runs into another person, Jess, Ruth's daughter. She helps Niamh with the newspaper and then they talk about the attacks and also how creepy Will is. Then Jess notices that all the attack victims, which are more than just Sara, Tasha and the Tube Girl, look like just like Niamh. Niamh had noticed it, too. The next day, Niamh is back in the museum but not ready to play her part as Jane. Instead, she learns about the museum, sees a creepy fortune telling hand that gives her the creeps, and then follows Geoffrey along and learns the stories told on the tour. She also sees Tommy in the crowd, looking cute as always. Niamh learns that Jane had a paramour and snuck out to meet him in a warehouse and her hair got caught in some machinery and she was mangled to death. Fucking yikes.
Jess visits Niamh and they look through the museum with Geoffrey. Jess loves history and looking at the cool creepy Victorian things they have on display, especially the Mourning items. There are some things that are marked as "on loan," but Geoffrey tells the girls that those pieces (hair bracelets, daguerreotypes, mourner's tears and fortune telling items that supposedly can bring loved ones back to life) were actually stolen. Niamh is getting creeped out by all this stuff and wants to leave, so they do. She and Jess go for chips and then Jess shows Niamh some research she did while Niamh waited in line for their snacks. She found more details about what was stolen from the museum and then shows a Pinterest style board of similar things which are super creepy. Then they talk about how all the girls that have been attacked recently look like Niamh. Or, Jess says, and it might be worse, that maybe the attacker thinks they WERE her.
The girls go to the library to ask Ruth if it's okay if Niamh stays the night because Niamh is sufficiently creeped out about literally everything happening around her and doesn't want to be by herself. While Jess is talking to her mom, Niamh looks through a book that was left out on the table. It's open to a spread about creepy fucking puppets. Niamh sees Punch from Punch and Judy with his creepy little grin and the Devil and then remembers her lecture about Spring Heeled Jack, with his metal claws, replacing Punch for a while. Then Will tells her, creepily in her ear, that she needs to watch out. She startles and he drops all the books he was carrying, which are SHOCKINGLY about Spring Heeled Jack, Penny Dreadfuls and Mourning Rituals. She also notices he has claw marks on his hands. Then he disappears, creepily. Jess comes back and is surprised to hear that Niamh ran into Will because he's not scheduled to be working. They talk about the wounds on his hands and then decide to VIOLATE ALL RULES OF LIBRARIANSHIP and check to see what books he has checked out to MAYBE TELL THE POLICE ABOUT.
They discover that Will has only checked out Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie stuff, so he must have just looked at the books without checking them out. They check the titles though to see who has checked them out and see that Jasmine had one of them and that they are all from Special Collections, which typically only Ruth lets people access. This time, it was Will though. Jess and Niamh obviously go investigate.
The Special Collections room is temperature controlled, has movable shelves and zero cell signal. It also locks from the outside. The girls go in, but then Jess has to go help someone in the main part of the library, so Niamh is left alone. And then creepy shit starts happening. As she's pretty far in the stacks, the lights go out. That happened earlier on the escalator, too, remember? She pulls out her phone to use the flashlight, but it's pretty dim. She's looking at titles and then she sees a shadow at the end of the aisle. Is it Jess? Ruth? No. The shadow disappears but then the shelves start moving. Oh god, she's going to be crushed. She starts running, but trips over oversized books as the shelves close in. Niamh hears banging at the door. It's Jess who says the key is inside with her. She keeps running but falls and then she's stuck. Something in her leg pops as she pulls free and tries to fling herself out from the closing shelves. Her head is out and right by the wheel that moves the shelves. Then she feels a featherlight caress of metal scrape down her cheek, but luckily Ruth and Jess burst in the room then. Niamh sees a blurry shadow run away.
Now Niamh is being interviewed by Detective Moran. He's pressing her for details of the attack because, well, it's kind of a thing now and she's the only one who has any details of what happened to her. There was one other girl who was attacked before Niamh arrived for her course that was able to speak about her attack, but she was very scattered and didn't give many details. She was attacked by an assumed man with metal fingernails, and slashed across the collarbone and chest. Maybe, Niamh thinks to herself, she's not the intended victim after all. Detective Moran seems to be trying to frighten more details from Niamh, saying that all the other girls were gravely injured, but why wasn't she? Why did the attacker gently stroke her face? Mary had injuries to her face and neck, Sara was killed, with injuries to her face and neck and chunks of hair pulled out, Tasha's in a coma with injuries to her face, neck and hands, the escalator girl... face and eye... Why not Niamh? Before she can freak out too much, Derek comes in and shuts down the investigation. Turns out, Derek is a retired officer and a great man to be in charge of her dorm and acting as her guardian.
Back in her room later (turns out she didn't get to spend the night with Jess after all), Niamh is chatting with her sister on the phone. Niamh asks Meghan if she'll pretend to be their mom on the phone if anyone calls about the investigation or what's been happening during her course. She knows that their mom will make her come home and she doesn't want to. Not yet. Not when she could maybe potentially get a scholarship and keep taking courses and maybe start dating Tommy... Meghan agrees as any good sister would. She says their parents aren't home much now anyway because their Gran is in the hospital and not doing so well, so it should be easy to pretend to be their mom if anyone calls. They disconnect after that and Niamh falls asleep, thinking about Tommy. She wakes up a few hours later, tummy rumbling and bladder full of pee. She decides she'll get some noodles and play on her phone a bit before going back to sleep. She takes a noodles-for-one selfie then looks through some of her other photos she's taken since she's been in London. That's not what she sees, however. She sees photos of herself. Asleep. From just a few minutes ago.
Niamh freaks out. Is the person still in here? Under the bed? In the bathroom? She nopes out of there and runs for the elevator, but the lights start to flicker and she hears a metallic scraping sound behind her. No thanks! She runs down the eight flights of stairs instead and to Derek's desk. She gasps out that someone took pictures of her while she was sleeping but, oh no. She didn't bring her phone with her. They go back upstairs, taking the elevator this time, and go into her room. No one in the bathroom. No one under the bed. And worst of all? No sleeping pictures on her phone. But they were RIGHT THERE!!
The next day, Niamh tells Jess all about what happened and Jess tells her that they need to talk about it later because she has to go help at the library because Will didn't show up for his shift. After classes, Niamh overhears Jasmine, who is definitely wearing the cardigan Niamh lent to Tasha, saying that Tasha is out of her coma. She also says a bunch of shitty stuff about how St. Mary's hospital is a dump and she goes to a private hospital and that she's going to a party the next night at a haunted theater and that she should be able to tell if it's haunted because she's spiritual. She's the worst, and denies she's wearing Niamh's cardigan. Ugh.
Niamh and Jess meet up and tell Ruth they're going to the movies, but they really go to the hospital instead. They are able to get in to see Tasha who doesn't really remember Niamh well. Jess stays outside Tasha's cubicle since she doesn't know her, but then when she doesn't seem to remember Niamh, she goes in. They ask what she can remember and it's not good. Tasha says she was attacked because she was wearing Niamh's sweater. She kept seeing Will all day everywhere she went and then... well, she was attacked. Her fingernails are missing! They talk about the other attacks and how they all seem to be connected to Niamh, but no, she can't be the reason behind the attacks because the first one happened before she even got there. Well, whatever the link is, they need to tell Detective Moran.
Niamh and Jess leave, intending to head to the police station, but they get turned around in an older wing of the hospital where they find a children's wing named for Jane Alsop, that's the Jane Niamh dresses as at her museum job, but the timing isn't right. This wing looks to be from the early 1900s, but Jane died in the 1830s. None of this makes any sense. They finally make their way out of the historical wing of the hospital and leave, but Niamh feels haunted by ghosts.
At the library later, Jess tells Niamh that Will is missing. He didn't show up for work and no one has seen him. Weird. They make plans for Niamh to eat and stay the night at Jess's and meet up again after Niamh's shift at the museum. There aren't a lot of people there, even Geoffrey goes home, leaving Niamh alone with Tommy. But wait, who is that shadow of a girl with long dark hair? Jasmine? Gulp... Jane? No sense worrying about that now because Tommy has invited her to have a hot chocolate and then they make out a little. Not a bad day at work!!
Afterward, they go to the party that Jasmine was planning and after some sneering by Jasmine and a promise by Tommy to make everything okay, he pulls out an ancient ouija board in the haunted theatre. Jasmine wants to contact Sara, which makes Niamh nervous, but a wink from Tommy lets her know that he's going to control the board. Except he doesn't. And they don't hear from Sara and instead hear from Jane who spells Niamh's name over and over. She gets upset that Jasmine is clearly messing with her, but then everyone looks at the planchette again that, with no one touching it, is spelling RUN over and over again. No thank you!
The next day, Niamh tells Jess all about what happened. She didn't end up spending the night because there was a leak at the library and then Niamh got ouija freaked. They end up talking about how dreamy Tommy is but that he probably has a girlfriend, bummer. Then Jess shows Niamh the microfilm machines and an article about how Jane had a box in the theatre named for her. Niamh thinks it's weird that there are so many links to Jane, but Jess just says it's going to help her write a stellar scholarship essay so she can stay and continue studying drama. They go to the theatre on a ghost tour but sneak off and up to the boxes to check them out. It's too high up for Jess, so she stays on the other side of the curtain, and while Niamh is looking around, she sees someone dressed all in grey. A ghost! Probably.
Back in her room later, Niamh talks to her sister who says that their Gran is in the hospital again. She thinks about going home, but decides her Gran wouldn't want her to, so she goes to make hot chocolate instead. While she's in the kitchen at three in the morning, she glances out the window to see Will looking in. She calls Detective Moran who tells her to go back to her room and lock and barricade the door. She does, but then the doorknob starts to turn and a voice calls out to her. She freaks, telling the cretin to go away, but then Detective Moran calls and tells her they've arrested Will. She sees him being carted away. He's wearing grey, just like the ghost Niamh saw in the theatre.
Niamh feels better the next day at the museum. She has plans to go to dinner with Jess and her parents and, after a long day working with Tommy again, he offers to take her on a quick date before walking her to dinner. On the way, she babbles about her classes and the scholarship and her sister and her Gran, but not about Will and how he was arrested outside her room last night. They go to an outdoor market and Tommy reveals he learned the language of flowers from his mother who died when he was younger. They kiss a bunch and he buys her flowers and they walk on. He wants to show her another place, but it's getting close to dinnertime and she gets creeped out by him as they walk through a dark part of the city, maybe toward a cemetery, but eventually they get near the restaurant and everything's fine again. Tommy asks when he'll see Niamh again and she says that tomorrow is her last day at the museum, so that might be it unless she wins the scholarship. He says he doesn't want to lose her again just as Jess runs up. She's startled by Tommy's handsomeness and later says she thinks she recognizes him from somewhere, but then they go eat dinner. Later that night, Niamh walks into the cemetery, right up to a mausoleum as if her feet know the way and she's just following. She sees her face shrivel up in a window reflection and thinks Niamh, Run! like the ouija board told her to. She wakes up with a scream!
Or to her phone ringing. It's Jess, she was supposed to meet her 15 minutes ago. When Niamh answers, instead of Jess, it's Ruth. Jess is in the hospital. Niamh rushes there, but maybe sees Jane in the stairwell and finds her feet carrying her to Jane's wing again, where she sees Tommy in a photograph from the 1840s. She snaps several pictures then remembers she's supposed to be visiting Jess. Ruth says she was attacked late the night before, just after Will was released from his 24 hour holding. And he wasn't caught or arrested again. Niamh leaves Jess and Ruth for her last shift at the museum, but Geoffrey's not feeling well and Tommy's not in, so he closes up early. Niamh sees that she's gotten a ton of texts from Jess while she was in there though and they say that she's okay, but then there are several that get progressively weirder. Is he there? Is Will there? It wasn’t him, Niamh! You need to trust Will. Don’t talk to ANYONE but Will, OK? Uh... What? Will is there and they awkwardly leave together.
They go to the library where Jess says she has something to show Niamh. Will didn't say anything on their way because he didn't think Niamh would believe him, but Jess says he was never the one doing the attacking. Then she shows Niamh microfilm articles showing someone who looks exactly like Tommy, but from the 1830s. Then Will gets a book, the same one he caught Niamh looking at way back in their first encounter and it's filled with a timeline of attacks. They've decided that Tommy is a revenant, a reanimated corpse, and also Spring Heeled Jack that attacks girls that all look like Niamh. And speaking of girls that look like Niamh, she gets a call from Meghan who has arrived on a surprise visit! She went to the museum where she was met by Tommy who said he was taking her to a party at Jane's house and they'd meet Niamh there. Niamh convinces her sister to run away, but then she's caught and knocked out by Tommy.
They realize that "Jane's house" is her mausoleum, which is the same one from Niamh's dream. It really seems like the ghost of Jane has been trying to help Niamh all this time. Jess gets freaked out, not wanting to see Tommy again since he just brutality attacked her, so she stays at the cemetery gate, trying to get in touch with the detective while Niamh and Will go to the mausoleum. Niamh looks through the shrivel-face window and sees Tommy inside, lovingly cradling a skeleton. Meghan is nowhere to be seen. Tommy opens the door and Niamh rushes in, finding Meghan barely alive. Will sneaks her out while Niamh talks to Tommy about what he's been doing. It's not good.
Tommy was Jane's paramour all those years ago. They were going to run away together the night that Jane was mangled by the machinery. She had hidden money and things to sell for their elopement behind the machinery and accidentally turned it on trying to retrieve it and died. Tommy's been trying to bring her back since then, using magic that his mother, a witch, taught him. He has surrounded Jane's body with Victorian mourning items like tiny vials and wreaths made from hair. He has to follow a specific spell to revive Jane that requires jewelry, hair, fingernails, an eye and one more item. He got the jewelry from the first victim, Mary, hair from Sara, fingernails from Tasha and an eye from the girl on the escalator. The only thing left? The warm beating heart from someone he cares about. Niamh. And he attacks.
Niamh wakes up in Jane's coffin, Tommy hovering over her and putting on Spring Heeled Jack's finger blades. He created that persona long ago to help him try to complete the attacking-women ritual to bring Jane back and then the London newspapers went crazy with it. Niamh tried to think of every horror movie she's ever watched as he's explaining this and then uses Jane's finger bones to cut her way free of the burial shroud she's tied up in. She manages to use the finger bone to stab Tommy in the neck when he comes by to see what she's doing. She flies out of the coffin, shattering the tiny vials of mourner's tears as Tommy begins to die. A lighter falls out of his pocket, one Jane had made for him all those years ago and that he stole from the museum, along with the rest of the revival ritual things. She sets the hair wreaths on fire and leaves Tommy inside.
Later, Niamh goes to see Geoffrey at the museum one last time. She didn't get the scholarship, so she won't be staying in London, but seriously… would you want to?! Anyway, it turns out, Geoffrey called Derek, his husband when Niamh left with Will, thinking it was a little odd. Derek found them at the cemetery and arrived before Detective Moran, whom Jess had finally gotten in touch with. Now Niamh's at the museum with her family and everyone is safe and sound. She gives Geoffrey Tommy's lighter, but doesn't tell him where she got it from. Before she goes back home with her parents and sister, she goes to the portrait of Jane, thanking her for her help. She sees a golden wedding band on her finger that she swears wasn't there before. Seems she and Tommy finally met in the afterlife.