Thirteen Candles

Selections from Charlotte Winchester's Diary

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January 1, 1917

Dear Diary,

My Aunties gave you to me and said I should tell you all my secrets. But I hardly know you! You seem like a friendly enough book, I suppose. Your paper is very pretty, with it’s guilted edges.

Here is my first secret: I miss Mother and Father so.

January 8, 1917

Dear Diary,

Today I turn 11 years old!

I do wish I was born in the summertime, that we may have a lovely pick-a-nick in the park. It is always so cold and dreary on my birthday.

My Aunties have had a cake made in my honor, so I shouldn’t complain too much. It looks most delicious! Chocolate with a raspberry jam topping. The jam is so red and shiny. I stood in the kitchen staring at the cake until Cook shooed me away.


It is nearly midnight, but I cannot sleep.

This was my best birthday ever! The cake was scrumptious, as was the whole supper. Cook really outdid himself. And, dear Diary, would you believe it but four of my school chums braved the weather to come! Agatha, Ernestine, Athena, and Bea. And they were all so nice to me, even Bea who can be—dare I say?—a pill normally.

It was a good day.

April 6, 1917

Dear Diary,

We are at War! What shall become of our brave soldiers? I’m terribly worried.

December 24, 1917

Dear Diary,

Happy Christmas! I’ve had you for nearly a year and have written in you nearly every day. I think I shall take tomorrow off. Please do not be angry with me.

And now I must fly, for I smell roasting chestnuts down in the parlor…

April 11, 1918

Dear Diary,

Please forgive my extended absence. While I was away I turned 12 and my sweet cat Smokestack was killed by an auto. I was—I remain—very sad. But today, oh today! Today a boy at school named Stanley Marion gifted me a kitten from his cat’s new litter. She looks just like Smokestack did as a wee thing! I have named her Septima, for she is the seventh pet I have owned in my life. Even as I write this, Septima is curled in my lap and sleeping.

August 15, 1918

Dear Diary,

A most extraordinary day.

I heard my Aunties gossiping in the parlor. Poor Stanley’s brother Herbert has died! He was in the Army, you see, but he had not departed for the Front. He was still in training, in Kansas I believe. Took ill and died, the poor thing.

I found Stanley at Prospect Park on College Hill, as I knew I would. He tried to pretend he had not been crying, but I knew he had! I could tell from his eyes, red and puffy as they were.

“Stanley, you shouldn’t lie so,” said I. He sat under a great old chestnut tree, and he put his head down on his knees.

I did not know what to do, so I sat beside him. “You have always been good to me, Charlotte,” said he.

We sat thus until the sun set, and then walked home together.

November 11, 1918

Dear Diary,

Hoorah, the War is over! The Kaiser has abdaca abdi fled and our boys are coming home! Poor Stanley and his family, they shall never see Herbert again.

May I tell you a secret, dear Diary? I often think of the day I sat under the chestnut tree with Stanley, and I do not know why.

I have met a most extraordinary woman. I think she shall be a rôle model to me in the years to come. Perhaps I shall tell you more of her at a later date. But, as I know my Aunties read you as well (though they protest otherwise), I shall refrain for now, for I do not think they would approve of her.

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"Revenge"

Against her better judgment, Charlotte attends a Cainite New Year’s Eve party…and all Hell breaks loose. The penultimate session of the chronicle.

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"Windy"

As Charlotte’s cult continues to grow, dark secrets are brought to light, while things best left buried are consigned to the fire.

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"Blue Jay Way"


With Charlotte back at the Parvo Doret, she begins re-establishing old connections and trying to turn up clues to the ongoing mysteries in her life. Christmas, predictably, ends in near-disaster.


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"Baby, Now That I Found You"

Tensions explode in Topanga Canyon and much blood is spilled Who will make it out with their lives (or unlives) intact?

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"Zig Zag Wanderer"


What is real? What is illusion? Is life but a dream?


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"Eternal Prison"

The chronicle takes a distinctly Lynchian turn as Charlotte explores the halls and grounds of the strange asylum and begins to question what is real and what is merely illusion.

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"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"

Charlotte is held in durance vile—will no one come to save her? Or must the ingenue at last transcend and save herself?

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"Little Girl Lost and Found"

It’s Halloween season in Los Angeles, and Charlotte sets out with her friends to explore a creepy abandoned amusement park. What they find there changes the course of their (un)lives forever…

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"Eventually"

Charlotte gets her hands on the strange little book at long last, only to find the mystery deepening. Everyone wants a piece of the book…or her…or both…and she is left wondering who she can trust, and whether she does indeed know best.

Listen to the episode here.

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