SBR 1.1: Bellwether

The red light is glowing like the beady eye of the beast, and along with the prickling feeling I usually get when I’m about to make a horrible mistake tells me yes, I’ve done it. We’re on the air. Hello, and welcome to Spirit Box Radio.

////

Hello, listeners, welcome to our advice and community segment, where we interrupt our continuous broadcast to talk to you, our wonderful listeners. If you missed our announcements earlier in the week, you are probably expecting the dulcet tones of Madame Marie. Unfortunately, she has not returned from wherever she’s gone to. had hoped maybe Janet the tarot witch, Salim the weather guy, Astrid the janitor, Kitty the investigator would show up this morning to fulfil their duties to the community and advice segment, but alas. Madame Marie would be very disappointed. She did care about this show more than life itself, as she would frequently proclaim, loudly during bathing or walking down the fresh goods aisle in Sainsbury’s. I had hoped that the reason I hadn’t heard from them was because they were like ‘oh it’s just Sam, we don’t need to tell him anything’, this too being one of Madame Marie’s favourite things to extol. Janet, Salim and Astrid have had a lot of experience on air, and I’ve had, well, none, to be honest.

But listeners, I am just so excited to be here! I’ve worked with Madame Marie and her loyal assistants for years but I’m lucky if they let me into the recording room even to bring them a cup of tea! Normally I organise the letters in our PO Box, sorting them into piles, you know, one for people asking for advice, one for predictions, one for death threats, one for indecipherable runes, you know?

But I have always wanted to actually be on the show! I can’t tell how thrilling it is to sit here at Madame Marie’s own microphone, with this stack of increasingly illegible notes which Madame Marie had the good sense to write out before she vanished. Ah, psychics! They do come in handy from time to time.

Madame Marie has also extensively labeled everything in the recording room with post-it notes, so I’ll be able to manage the technical side at the very least. I have to say some of the notes do feel somewhat unnecessary, like the one on the back of the chair that just says ‘chair’. Madame Marie does like her little jokes, you see?

I do have some. Well, I wouldn’t say it’s good news, exactly, but it is at least some news about the whereabouts of Madame Marie. This morning when I went to check the PO Box – despite everything that’s happened that’s still my real job– I found a small, crumpled note at the bottom. It reads as follows:

/////

It drips and it creaks, the thing in the night. It’s coming. It has been coming for weeks, it may have been coming all of our lives, but now, more than ever, we can taste it on the wind. We were woken by a strange buzzing sound, like many wasps trapped in countless jars. The door to Marie’s office was sealed shut and the handle was coated in a sticky, viscous fluid, almost like honey, except that it was blood red and smelled of a bedroom which had sat unused for some time. The door remained shut and Marie’s office inaccessible between the hours of three and four in the morning, at which point the buzzing abruptly stopped and all traces of the viscous fluid disappeared. When we reached Madame Marie she was unresponsive and is being treated at a local hospital. We hope her recovery will be swift despite the thick red crust which sealed her eyes and ears, despite the thing that drips and creaks, that is coming in like the wind, like the tide on the shore. It is coming for us now. It is coming.

And that’s it. I’m not sure which of Madame Marie’s loyal assistants left this behind, and none of them have been since since she disappeared, so there’s just no real way to know. Knowing Marie, this could be some kind of prank. She has been known in certain circles for her stellar sense of humour. However, I’m more inclined to believe the letter is a forgery.

The funny thing is, we don’t really have a local hospital. There’s a few within an hour’s drive but I wouldn’t really call any of them local per-say. I know it might be overstepping my bounds a bit but I did take the liberty of calling those hospitals this morning and asking if they’d had a Madame Marie admitted, or someone that fits her description. None of them had. There was no record of any of the loyal assistants being admitted either.

Another clue as to the falseness of this crumpled, blood splattered note is that it mentions Madame Marie’s office. Well, listeners, Madame Marie does not have an office. The recording room is long and narrow, more of a hallway, really, which leads off to several rooms. There’s the kitchen, the bathroom, the library, the apothecary, and between the doors are rows and rows of shelves. The closest thing Madame Marie has to an office is the recording room itself, but there is no door to the recording room, except for the one at the top of the stairs, and I’d know if people were trying to get in that way, I’d have heard them.

I can only conclude that whatever happened to Madame Marie, the loyal assistants are involved in whatever scheme it’s all a part of. Obviously I am concerned about Madame Marie’s safety, but the letter’s obvious fake-ness combined with Madame Marie’s propensity for a good bit of fun leads me to think I don’t need to be overly concerned. As for the purpose of this note, well, so far that’s unclear. It doesn’t really give us any useful details and the one bit of real information in it has turned out to be demonstrably false.

///

Well, now that has been addressed, I’ll return to our usual programming. First, the augury forecast for this week, which I will share with you now.

Those of you born on a Tuesday may want to refrain from purchasing new vehicles due to the alignment of the clouds above Greenwich Village early on the first Saturday morning in June 1963.

Several crows were spotted in a local park which means this is probably a good time to invest in a new pair of shoes.

Avoid parking under the large sycamore tree in town, it’s full of a flock of starlings and your car will get peppered with their droppings, you have been warned.

Carolines, Christines, Josephs and Josiahs, do not force locks this month. It will end badly. The repercussions will be far more severe than you imagine.

If your star sign is Capricorn, I’m very sorry.

This concludes the augury forecast for this week. Right. Okay. Now, letters.

Before Madame Marie disappeared, we received a letter in our P.O. box from an unknown sender, asking for an opinion on their fiancee. The sender says;

My fiancee is very indecisive. We cannot seem to agree on anything because every time we have a conversation about anything she immediately backs down before ever forming an opinion. We are supposed to be getting married in just three months, but we still haven’t picked out a colour for the bridesmaids’ dresses. I understand she has a lot of baggage from previous relationships but this is ridiculous. What should I do?

Well, here’s what Madame Marie says, anonymous letter writer:

Relationships are all about give and take, and like all things, once a balance is lost, it can be incredibly difficult to restore. To aid this process, you could try a simple attraction spell. Attraction spells are something of a misnomer; they are not about making yourself more attractive to someone, but about attracting the right actions, feelings and energies to a person or situation. For this spell, you will need chalk – of any colour, but not a chalk pen, the porousness of the chalk aids with the attractiveness of the spell – a sprig of holly, and some lavender oil.

Use the chalk to draw a circle under your bed, on the side your fiance sleeps. If you don’t share a bed, draw a circle on a piece of paper and slip it under the mattress when you next visit her home. Put a drop of lavender on the pillow, being sure to dilute it if you use a pure essential oil as these can irritate the skin if left undiluted. With the same chalk you used to draw the circle, write in the centre of the circle what it is you wish for your fiancee to do or become, and use the holly to rub out the words, ensuring some of the leaf ends up pulped and some smudges of green remain.

Do not break the circle itself when erasing the words; this can cause confusion in the person the spell is intended for which can range in intensity from forgetting why they entered a room right up to permanent amnesia. For this reason, if you are using a piece of paper to cast this spell, Madame Marie strongly recommends you slip it into a plastic document wallet before placing the circle under the mattress to ensure your fiancee does not inadvertently erase her own memory as she shifts her weight in her sleep. Once the spell is performed you must thoroughly burn the remaining holly; this may take some time and you may find it easier if you dry it out in the oven first. Give it a few days and consult your fiancee on the colour of the bridesmaids dresses to see if your spell has worked. If it has, draw another circle around the original circle, erase the original circle, being sure not to disturb the outer circle until this one is completely smudged.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear a tapping on the outside of your bedroom window at night whilst the circle remains intact. Thoroughly burning the holly to ash should prevent the spell from attracting unwanted pests but there is no guarantee. Be mindful of going anywhere where there is likely to be a lot of sickness or disease, such as hospitals. This spell is not advised for use on people with weakened immune systems. As with all spells, the effectiveness is not guaranteed and Spirit Box Radio has no responsibility for any memory loss, possession, or missed deadlines which may result from the use of this spell, nor any relationship-ending consequences that may result.

///

Well, there you go anonymous letter writer, I hope that helps!

Oh, listeners, whilst I was answering the anonymous letter, we have received an email! The space where the address should be blank but I think Madame Marie must have some kind of privacy filter on here or something because half of them are like that. Anyway, the email is about Madame Marie. The author of the email expresses deep concern, in all caps, for the Madame Marie. It says ‘she was screaming’ about eighteen or so times.

Now look, I know the screaming on the last episode sounded bad, but when I listened to it again, I’m not sure it was actually Madame Marie who was screaming. I think it might have been someone else. She was talking directly into the microphone as I am now but the screaming seemed to come from a little way off. The way the recording room is set up, it would be difficult for her to get far away from the microphone as quickly as the screaming started. She was in the middle of the forecast and then all of a sudden she was cut off and the screams began.

The microphone is hung over this large desk. There are actually two and they rise like a tree from the desk’s centre. Madame Marie’s chair, where I am sitting now, has the more expensive of the two microphones angled towards it. The large, plush chair she sits on, a chintz adapted so it swivels, only has a couple of inches of clearance from the wall behind. The desk is almost the full width of our little recording room. To my left is the fax machine and the crystal ball on it’s stand, and on the table next to the microphone tree is the telegram and the scrying mirror. To get away from the microphone she’d need to swivel the chair to the right, stand up, and walk all the way around the desk.

This leads me to believe there was someone else there to scream on cue, or maybe that Madame Marie had a recorded scream she started to play at that very moment. Either way, I’m fairly sure it wasn’t her, and I remain convinced the blood soaked letter was a hoax.

///

Also in our emails this week is Peter from Somerset, who tuned in on Thursday morning to try and contact his neighbour, Jeff. He was trying to reach Jeff to talk about his wife, Priti. Peter was trying to ask Jeff if he’d mind very much if Peter asked Priti for dinner. It’s been a year since Jeff died in a horrific lawnmower accident, and he and Priti have gotten very close in the months since, but Peter has always been very mindful and respectful of Jeff’s memory. This is why he was rather surprised when he sat down at about half-past eleven on Thursday morning with his cup of tea, tuned in to our station, and upon attempting to make contact with Jeff was met with the sudden and immediate response ‘get in there peter you wet handkerchief’. Peter was very taken aback and quite upset.

At around the same on time on Thursday morning, regular user of our message boards, Beth, tuned in and tried to commune with the spirits, and received a message which she interpreted as ‘Gethin’s there with her, you’re just underneath’.

Now, listeners, this is why we tell you to post on the message boards if you’re going to use Spirit Box Radio for spiritual communications; these kinds of misinterpretations are more common than you’d think. Because Peter and Beth were both trying to use the channel at the same time, well, it’s just impossible to know which of them managed to successfully communicate with the other side. Perhaps neither of them did, or perhaps it was both!

///

[A CLATTER]

Oh, no! Listeners, I have just knocked the small box of broken hand mirrors Madame Marie likes to keep on the desk and poking out of the side I have found a small note card, the same as the one that came with Madame Marie’s imminent loss bouquet. It has the same design on the back, a little sketch of some flowers, and the same name, Hatfield Karpos, which is presumably the florist who puts these together. This note simply says ‘they are coming’, and then at the bottom, just ‘O’, which presumably stands for Oliver. Well, Oliver, whoever you are. Please do get in touch if you know anything about where Madame Marie has gone. It seems like you’re in on the joke! Funny as it all is, I am, actually quite worried.

I can’t pretend to fully understand the way that people with spiritual gifts function. I know that sometimes Madame Marie would run extensive, hyper detailed thought experiments in the hopes of determining which of several possible futures she was predicted was the one which would actually manifest, but that has never interfered with the radio show before. Say what you like about Madame Marie, as I know there have been some doubts as to her authenticity as a psychic, she really cared about you, the listeners. She wouldn’t be apart from you, if she could help it. I’m sure of that if nothing else.

As to my own abilities, I am, sadly, quite stunted in the spiritual department. I can’t really read tarot and none of my predictions actually come up trumps, although I do tend to get a sort of itchy sense of impending doom whenever I’m about to make a terrible decision, but to be honest with you, I tend to put that down to common sense more than spiritual ability. As the de-facto presenter of this show, whose primary function is to provide you, the listeners, with psychic advice and word from the other side, I’m not really sure where that will leave us once I’ve run out of Madame Marie’s preprepared predictions.

I doubt we’ll have to cross that bridge at all, but as they say, we can’t cross it until we come to it, anyway. So for now, thank you for listening to Spirit Box Radio. Tune in if there’s a loved one or malicious being from the other side you’re attempting to communicate with, and make sure to email in if you manage to commune with anyone, we’d love to know, and remember to use the message boards to talk commune with the living, first! I’ve been Sam Enfield, thank you, and goodnight.