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Wyrd Woman is an audio drama from Broads and Books Productions. The show is written, performed and produced by Amy Lee Lillard.

Music comes from the Ghosts albums by Nine Inch Nails, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.


Get more from Amy Lee Lillard:


And check out our other Broads and Books Productions:



Episode Transcript: Night 2


Intro voiceover:

Wyrd Woman is intended for an adult audience, and discusses mental health, history, and other tough topics. Take care when listening. 



01 Ghosts I, Nine Inch Nails



Record button on Voice Notes

Night sounds from the forest



It’s bedtime, and I’ve just been laying here. Usually I can drop off fast. As anxious as I can get during the day, it doesn’t stop me from sleeping. Even in this different place, this temporary home, that’s proven true. A good thing.


But tonight I’ve been waiting for sleep for, what, an hour?


I’m talking in the dark, sitting up in bed, recording on this. Major Tom took off. Looking out the windows probably. He’s fascinated by the woods outside. The wilderness. It’s mid-September, so it’s still green and wild. He looks out with a sort of longing. Sniffs at the air so hard.


All afternoon, after remembering that final dream… I was checked out. Not a totally odd thing. I mean I can do my work on autopilot. Same deadlines every week, same checklists, same same same. And that’s comforting. I don’t have to expend much energy. Don’t have to stress too much. Don’t have to talk to too many people, or tax myself, or…


No matter the scary shit happening in the world, we still have to work, right? We still have to go through the motions, we have to pretend it’s all fine. Even as it feels like … squeezing…


Anyway. I was checked out. Kept thinking of how the Unnatural One looked at me. Smiled at me. And I wondered if that had happened before.


But I mean, before last night, before trying this recording thing, I didn’t remember much of anything of these dreams. Didn’t remember much from any of the women. Just impressions. Tiny hints of identity. Feelings, and smells, and odd sounds.


One night of doing this, and its broken things open. I’m remembering, but I’m also, like, channeling them or something?


My voice legit changed. I listened back to the recordings again. It really happened. And not just with the Ugly One. I hadn’t realized at the time, but it was the Mad One too.


It’s affecting my body. The dreams are – they’re in me, and coming out of my … That’s really creepy. It’s scary.


I’m … yeah, I’m scared. I’m afraid to fall asleep, and to dream. What happens next, if all that happened in one night? Do the dreams just get stronger, and what, take over?


Probably why I can’t drift off. Part of me is panicking. Hard.


But then… I think I’m excited too. Like the-night-before-Christmas excited.


It’s a good distraction. And maybe, I don’t know. I feel hopeful? Like it will help me?


I’m psyched to … see my imaginary friends. Who want to talk to me. Who want to tell me things. Who want me to see things.


The people in the waking world – I can’t relate to them. But these women...


And they’re not imaginary. That’s not the right word. If last night, and these recordings, showed me anything it’s that. And they also confirmed – these aren’t just dreams either.


I’m going in circles. Having the same debates again and again. I’ve had them all afternoon in my head. I’m sick of it.    


There’s nothing for it but to just – commit. See what happens.


So – ok, I’m going to stop this, and lay down, and just try to breathe and chill the fuck out. So I can sleep. So I can start.




Sound: Record button off.


Sound: Record on.


Night sounds from the forest



Nothing happened. I just woke up to pee, and there was no dream. Not one I remembered anyway.


Now I’m laying down, awake again, can’t sleep. I’m worried it’s done. That the dreams are done. Or that I imagined them.


No. I didn’t though. I couldn’t have imagined what it felt like being in their head, looking out at what they see, thinking what they think.


I was them. I was them, and somehow they were me too?


Fuck. I don’t know. Just – don’t let them be done? Don’t let them be – gone.


Sound: Record off.


Sound: Record on.


Night sounds from the forest



Yeah, I dreamed. Yeah, ok. I’m awake, yeah, and I was just dreaming. Ok. Ok.


It was the Old One. She was in her house on the hill. The horses outside, I could hear them. Cus of the quiet. That sort of super eerie quiet. She was at a wheel. Fiber in her hands. Spinning wool. Because that’s what she does, for herself, and for the community, the tiny town down the hill. Where she walks sometimes, and uses her horses to pull a wagon full of wool, because –


Music: Old One theme (13 Ghosts II, Nine Inch Nails)


This is the past. It’s, yeah, it’s back, far back. Like centuries in the past?


And – oh my god - All of them. All of the women, they’re in the past, of course - 


So the Old One, she’s in her house, at her wheel. She’s spinning.


Old One:

Spin, spin, spin, my hands work, create something from something else, and the satisfaction in that, the warmth. And I bring that warmth to the village, I bring them my work, to help soften their lives, their hard and mean lives, to help warm their nights, their cold and tough nights.




Here one comes. One of them. Up the hill. Walks his path. Walks with purpose. He comes to fight. He comes to taunt. He comes to blame.


They want more. They want health. They want future. They want the root.


I am no one. I am woman. I am alone. I am old.


Here he comes. Full of power. Full of God. Full of right.


They want my home. They want my land. They want me gone.


He will lie. He will cheat. He will hurt. He will –






Ohhhhh. Oh – I felt that. I felt her. Her voice, it tasted like, like burnt, and and and her fingers were rubbed into callouses, and –


She was speaking German. Or like, an older version of German? But I understood it…


It’s – she knew – she knew so I know - the year was Anno Domini 1589.


Holy shit.


She’s – I felt her body. Her sweat, and cold. She’s Old, but not, not today old. She’s maybe fifties? But life was shorter then –


And she knows, maybe because I know? That one day the word spinster will be an insult for unmarried and useless women. And she’s a spinster in all senses.


That guy. He was dangerous. She knew he was, they all were, all the people of the town desperate to blame someone. For sickness, and bad weather, and money leaving them and going to the nobles.


She knew – there was a chance – she knew she might be taken, because there had been news, rumors, from other villages and towns, of women taken, and burned for --


She’ll be taken…


I mean, I guess the dreams are still here.


And that – makes me happy. That’s something.



Sound: Record off.


Sound: Record on.




Up again. Yeah, they are for sure back.


This was the Broken One.


It all came at me in a rush this time. Who she was, where and when and all that.


She’s in 1757.


She’s in England. In a fairly big farmhouse. Maybe a tenant farm on an estate?


She’s a servant. She works mostly outside, in the barns. There’s horses, and cows, and pigs. Chickens. Cats run in and out.


There’s the smell of dirt, and manure, and sweat, and warm fur. So thick it’s in her nose and on her tongue. And the sound of animals living their lives.


Music: Broken One theme (28 Ghosts IV, Nine Inch Nails)


She sleeps in the barn. And she doesn’t mind. She feels like a cat. She followed the cats, actually, to the barn, that first day, when she was living – anywhere. Nowhere. She’d escaped the nunnery, and just walked, slow and steady, with her limp and tremor. She slept in the open. She spotted a pregnant cat making her way with a sort of direction, and followed her, and snuck into the barn.


Broken One:

I am a cat. That’s the only thing that makes sense. I am a creature that runs afoot while people, real people, do whatever people do. I survive by … creativity, and audacity, and dirt.


I muck the stables. Tend the animals. The mistress stands outside the doors, shouts in any particular instructions. I make her uncomfortable. But she feeds me just the same. Just like one of her creatures.


This is a life. One as good as any other. One better than the cloisters, where I was discarded, where I would be silenced, made to mimic and cater to imaginary stories of a man in the sky.


Here I can choose silence.


This is a life better than home – dark rooms, rigid clothes, rules upon rules, distaste and disdain from all who lived there.


I talk to the animals. They talk to me. I am not Broken to them. I am the most whole. The most real.



She’s right. It’s a better life than what she had. Her parents, or guardians – not sure who they were – they called her names all the time. Stupid, pathetic, broken. They said she had no brain, or too much of one.


They were trying to marry her off. But all the guys, and I can see them, all these dandies and old crusty men, complained to her parents. Besides the fact of her disabled body, they said she unpleasant, unsmiling, unsuitable.


The parents finally got so frustrated they dumped her at a nunnery. They weren’t even Catholic, and they had to hunt one down. They found one, where all the unwanted and inconvenient girls went.


But my girl, she ran. She said fuck that bullshit. She may be broken, but she knew truth and lies. She knew when girls were just being locked away to wither and die. She wanted open skies, and earth smells, and a religion of the dirt and moon.


Major Tom is back, and I’m petting him, and he’s purring. He’s stretching out – he’s so long, and his belly is all tiger spotted and soft. Just running my hand back and forth.        


Animals just make sense. I get it, I get her – people don’t make sense –  but animals do.


They still call us Broken today. That hasn’t changed. Step too far out of normal, or act against what you’re supposed to act, and that threat is there, the threat of names. But also being sent away –





Sound: Record off.


Sound: Record on.


Birds from the forest



I couldn’t sleep much after that. I dozed, and kept waking up, touching my phone to get the time.


It’s morning now. I have conference calls today, so I’m putting on my warpaint. I mean, why don’t we just call makeup that? That’s what it is. We women put it on for armor. It’s a cheap mask. A quick way to pretend like we belong.


It doesn’t really stand up to inspection though. Or to everyday battles. Most of mine is rubbed or sweated off by lunch time, and then it’s just – me, out in the world.


Did they have makeup back then? Maybe for nobles, and rich women. Not the women I’m seeing.


The ones in my dreams, they’re outside all of that. They’re outside the world. They have no protection. The people in their lives washed their hands of them. Sent them away.


If they had married, they might have some protection – but they’d also be their husbands’ property. To rape and beat and generally bury.


They fought that, fought being owned.


So did I. That’s something we share I guess.


I could have married him, or her. Any of them in the past. But – I was choking, chafing. Disappearing. And the ones I was with – they liked that. They wanted me silent. They would have owned me. And called it protection.


I recognize these women’s brains. Cus it feels like I’m in there, with them. And I understand how their thinking works. How they look at people, and how they get confused like I do, and how it’s just easier, and more comfortable, by themselves.


They didn’t have all the words and names we do now – no word for autistic, except maybe Broken. Weird. Witch.


Would they have a word today? Like me?


That still doesn’t explain what’s happening, but – maybe that’s ok. Maybe I’m just supposed to watch right now. To listen.


And maybe that’s –


[gasp, bang]


Holy fuck – that – in the mirror – that’s – that’s not me, that’s –



Sound: Record off.


Music: Outro theme (12 Ghosts II, Nine Inch Nails)



Wyrd Woman is an audio drama from Broads and Books Productions.


The show is written, performed and produced by Amy Lee Lillard.


Music comes from the Ghosts albums by Nine Inch Nails, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.


Find full episode notes, transcripts, and show details at


If you like what you hear, tell a weird friend.


Thanks for listening.




* All music comes from the Ghosts albums by Nine Inch Nails, courtesy of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.


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