Audiobook - Dark Shadows: Clothes of Sand

Clothes of sand cover

Susan Omand encounters the Sandman as she listens to Dark Shadows: Clothes of Sand from Big Finish...

“Night Princess, hope The Sandman brings you sweet dreams”

Maggie Evans tells her own story in this episode and introduces Collinsport, warning of ghosts and spirits, and the rhyme of the Sandman that her mother told her when she was a child. It was raining the day her dad and boyfriend brought her to Windcliffe Hospital. When they had found her on the beach she believed she had escaped from “him”, running frantically and screaming into the arms of her father. “He” was Barnabus Collins, a vampire and regular Dark Shadows character, and had trapped Maggie believing her to be his lost Josette. However, a voice in her head questions whether she has really escaped. Maggie, broken and Catatonic, was taken to Windcliffe to recuperate where the nurses took her to a room, bathed her and bandaged her cuts. As the sand washed down the plug, the voice asks if she forgot him so easily – it’s the Sandman from her childhood who is speaking to her.

Maggie found the hospital a pleasant enough place, although clinical, and she was told by the staff how unique she was, as she remembers Barnabus Collins torture of her. The Sandman’s voice offers to help her forget but warns that everything has a price, that even Barnabus’ sins come at their own cost. Maggie describes in her head her first meeting with Collins and how he had gained her trust. Three months after that first meeting she was locked in a cellar, trapped by Collins.

Dr Hoffman is assigned as Maggie’s specialist. The Sandman’s voice warns that Maggie mustn’t tell anything, so there is little progress in the Doctor finding out what happened. When the talk therapy didn’t work, Dr Hoffman used hypnosis to bypass Maggie’s conscious. The Doctor regresses Maggie to the beach, much to the desperation of The Sandman. The hypnosis takes Maggie back to childhood, her mother is ill, her father painting the ocean and she talks about the “haunted house” on the hill. The Sandman’s voice explains that Collinsport is where Maggie “became a ghost,” where her madness set in. She mentions the Sandman out loud to the doctor. Back on the beach, she writes her name on the sand and a word appears above hers in the sand. It now reads “Hello, Maggie Evans.” That was the day she met the Sandman.

But who is the Sandman? Just an imaginary friend or something, someone, more real? Someone to be afraid of?

This is a double header told from the point of view of Maggie (Kathryn Leigh Scott) with the addition of the dark and unsettling voice of The Sandman (Alec Newman) being the only interruption in the monologue. Stuart Manning’s writing conveys the disturbing story very well, almost in a documentary format, with the highly detailed descriptions of people and places taking precedent over the action. It is also not horrific as such, without much in the way of blood and gore, even though there is a death, playing more on the psychological as Maggie’s relating of her encounters with The Sandman turn dark, first hopeless, then desperate in the stark surroundings of the hospital. The music in the episode is used to great effect, augmenting the unsettling feelings of the story and the ending leaves the listener satisfied but with enough open ends and questions to want to continue with the characters’ stories. All in all, not an action packed drama but a rich and detailed tale of an important thread in Maggie Evans’ story.

Image - Big Finish

Available direct from Big Finish.