SBR 1.10: Yield

Run, run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I am but a glimmering ephemera, insubstantial, and when you touch me, I run like sand through your fingers. That was one of my most favourite poems when I was a little boy! Ah, such fond memories. Welcome to the Advice and Community Segment of Spirit Box Radio.

[INTRO MUSIC]

Welcome back, faithful listeners! It’s been a busy week for me here at the studio. The first few weeks of any year are usually chock full of people looking for enlightenment and normal Madame Marie usually spends three or four of the January episodes running through those requests with you all, faithful listeners, but of course, she still hasn’t come back from where ever it is she has gone to.

I have made a bit of progress with organising the studio, however! I’ve clears some of the shelves and organised the communion wafers. I found some spare boxes upstairs and I’ve brought them down to throw things in temporarily. Not throw! Wrong word. To place carefully. Until such a time as I can properly display them. It’s really exciting and it’s given me something to do besides sitting around feeling guilty about how few of Madame Marie’s duties I can actually fulfil.

Another thing that’s been keeping me going over the last few weeks has been the wonderful posts on the forums you’ve been making about using the Spirit Box services we offer continuously aside from with the Advice and Community Segment runs!

Brian in Tonbridge managed to successfully commune with his brother, Arthur, in the early hours of Sunday morning! This is excellent news because those of you who frequent the forums will know, Brian has been trying to get in touch with Arthur at around this time every week for about six months now. Arthur had some health issues and Brian lived with him as a carer, and since Arthur passed away last year, he’s been experiencing some strange occurrences in the house they once shared. Brian has now confirmed that it is, indeed, Arthur who has been knocking over his glass of water every night and pounding rhythmically on the floor. Brian had been considering contacting sometimes supporters of the show, Stykler and Stykler, but now he’s concluded it’s only his brother, he’s more than happy for the supernatural disturbances to continue! He’s bought a silicone mat to put beside his bedroom table so the repeated water spillages don’t ruin the carpet. How heartwarming is that! I do love a happy ending, especially one with some brotherly love!

[PHONE RINGS]

Oh, goodness! How exciting!

Hello, you’re live on Spirit Box Radio, please don’t invoke any harmful spirits! This is Sam Enfield, temporary host of the Spirit Box Radio Advice and Community Segment! To whom am I speaking?

BETH: Hi Sam! It’s Beth!

SAM: Regular caller Beth, no less! How exciting! How did you get on with your eyebrow? Not turned yellow again, I take it.

BETH: No! Nothing like that. I’m actually calling because something kind of weird occurred to me when I was listening to the show last week.

SAM: Weird? How so?

BETH: Well. This florist, Mr Oliver, he’s sending you bouquets of roses and stuff, right? And for christmas, the note that said it was from your dad, that was a rose, wasn’t it?

SAM: Yes. Yes it was.

BETH: So, maybe, possibly, they could have come from the same person?

SAM: [GASP] You know, you might be on to something!

BETH: Well, happy to be of service! I do owe you one, after all.

SAM: Nonsense, Beth! I may not be as competent as Madame Marie, but I’m here to serve all the faithful listeners with any queries that I can. I’m only sorry I can’t be of more help!

BETH: No, Sam, I don’t mean that!

SAM: Oh. Well. What do you mean?

BETH: You don’t need to be so modest, you know! You keep putting yourself down, saying you aren’t very talented as a… oh. I don’t know what term you prefer! Is it. Witch? Sorcerer? Or psychic?

SAM: [LAUGHS NERVOUSLY] oh, no, really! I’m none of those things at all. I’m just the lowly P.O Box boy. I don’t have any sort of proclivity for the arcane arts.

BETH: [FALTERING SLIGHTLY FOR THE FIRST TIME] You— you are Sam Enfield, right?

SAM: [RELIEVED] Yes, that’s me. Just Sam.

BETH: But. Years and years ago my mum brought you too me, I’d been in a car crash and I’d been in a coma for weeks. You talked to me, got me to come back to my body. Turns out I wasn’t in a coma at all, I was actually astral projecting.

SAM: I— what?

BETH: And when I woke up you were sat there and so was my mum and Madame Marie. Mum had always been really superstitious before but after that, it was like, I don’t know, two fold. She was really scared I was some kind of witch or something so made extra sure I didn’t read any books about magic. I didn’t even read Harry Potter until I left for uni. It’s really weird. Don’t you remember me? I mean. I suppose there were a lot of other kids like me that you helped.

SAM: I didn’t, I don’t, I’m sorry. You must have me confused with someone else.

BETH: No, I’d know your voice anywhere! That’s why I still called when I heard it was you on the radio, not Madame Marie.

SAM: I— what. You knew? I—

BETH: You really don’t remember do you?

SAM: No, no, it can’t be, I —–

[a low rumble, ringing, feedback]

BETH: Hello? Hello, Sam? Hello?

[glass rattling, ghost voices]

BETH: Oh my god, Sam! Hello? Hello!

[abrupt silence]

[door slams open, feet thunder on the stairs]

ANNA: [distant] Sam, Sam! Sam, can you hear me? Sam!

SAM: [dazed, also far from the microphone] Anna?

ANNA: Oh my god, I thought you were dead.

SAM: [coughs] I’m fine.

ANNA: Your nose is bleeding.

SAM: I— oh. It’s fine.

ANNA: Sam, I told you—

[door slams open again, feet on the stairs]

KITTY: Sam, are you alright?

ANNA: What the hell are you doing here?

KITTY: I was in my shed.

ANNA: You were in your— and you didn’t stop him!?

KITTY: What am I, his keeper now?

ANNA: Jesus Christ, Kitty. Sam, can you stand, honey?

SAM: [darkly] I told you I’m fine. [a low rumble and tinkling of glass]

BETH: Um. Hello?

ANNA: Oh god, the bloody show’s still running, isn’t it? [close to the mic now] Hi, lovely, what was it? Beth? Just hang up now we’re going to be closing things down.

BETH: What just happened?

ANNA: Sam’s not very well. This idiotic magic stuff stresses him out and it makes him worse, that’s why he’s not supposed to get involved.

KITTY: Don’t look at me like that.

ANNA: You were supposed to be looking out for him.

KITTY: I have a life.

ANNA: Could have fooled me.

KITTY: Yeah, you’re doing so much better, right?

ANNA: Oh, spare me. Mum just trundles off and you’re where? The Outer Hebridies?

KITTY: It’s my job, Anna.

ANNA: Did she pay you?

KITTY: It’s not like you were here to stop him anyway.

BETH: I should just go, right?

KITTY AND ANNA TOGETHER: Yes!

ANNA: Obviously.

SAM: I’m sorry, Beth.

BETH: It’s okay.

SAM: You guys need to calm down. I’m completely fine. I don’t know what happened.

ANNA: Oh, well then, if you have amnesia that’s a great sign that you’re totally fine, isn’t it?

KITTY: Anna.

ANNA: Don’t you ‘Anna’ me.

KITTY: Why were you even here? It’s not like you to make social calls.

ANNA: I was in the neighbourhood.

KITTY: At two in the morning?

ANNA: I was worried, I—

[knock on door]

SAM: Do you—

ANNA: Shhh!

KITTY: [distant] Hello officers.

OFFICER: Hello ma’am, we’ve had a noise complaint at this residence. The neighbours were concerned about some kind of domestic violence?

KITTY: Everything is fine, sir.

OFFICER: If you’re sure, ma’am.

KITTY: I’m desperately sure, actually. My brother has a medical condition. I’ll try to make sure he only has seizures at sensible hours in future.

OFFICE: Oh, ma’am

[door slams]

[feet on stairs]

KITTY: [muttering] Jumped up little know it all bastards. [out loud] What? Is there something on my face?

SAM: No, I. People heard me? But I was all the way down here.

ANNA: I know, kiddo. It’s alright. Don’t worry.

SAM: God, my head is killing me.

ANNA: Maybe you hit it on the way down. I should take you to the hospital. You might have a concussion!

SAM: No! No hospitals!

[TREMBLING SOUNDS SWELL AGAIN]

KITTY: Alright, nobody is going to make you go [PAUSE] Would you stop looking at me like this is all my fault!

ANNA: If you’d bothered to try to stop him from doing this—

KITTY: Uh, I did? And I tried a damn sight harder than you did. You gave up after one coffee morning, unless I am grossly mistaken.

ANNA: I am busy! I am a lawyer! I have to go to work and meetings and—

KITTY: I’m busy too!

ANNA: Playing games, indulging in M’s fantasies.

SAM: I’m so sorry about that, faithful listeners! It’s all go tonight at Spirit Box Radio, next week—-

ANNA: Are you serious? You are pressing on with this, even after that? You’re going to end up really sick, Sam.

SAM: [HYSTERICAL] You know I really have no idea what you’re talking about! Either explain or shut up! [LAUGHS] Sorry again, faithful listeners.

ANNA: Sam, stop messing around—

KITTY: Anna, let it go.

ANNA: No, I won’t, I can’t just—

KITTY: He really doesn’t remember, Anna!

[TREMBLING SWELLS, GLASS SOUNDS]

SAM: I said SHUT UP! [deep breath] Oh, these two jokers! Well, faithful listeners! This has been a fascinating episode. My first call live on air! Next week, I’ll do my best to keep my sisters out of the studio. I’ll lock myself in if I have to!

//

Well, then. I suppose I’ll get on with, uh. What was I… ah yes! We received a letter from a Mx Nicola Hunt in Yorkshire asking for advice about some disturbances in their home. They live in an old Tudor house which sees very frequent activity from the unhappily deceased, and Nicola has been using our service for some time for small personal seances, and to entertain guests when the mood strikes. As a veteran user of the Spirit Box Radio forums, Nicola turned there first when they started to receive very frequent communications with one ghost in particular, who has identified himself as ‘Malcolm’.

Interactions with Malcolm were pleasant at first. He was unusually conversant for a ghost and eager to, as it were, push to the front whenever Nicola tuned into Spirit Box Radio. After several months, though Nicola noticed a change in Malcolm’s behaviour towards them. Malcolm was no longer interested in conversation, only in Nicola’s coming s and goings. They noticed odd things moving about the house; a hairbrush they had lost years ago appeared on the bathroom window sill. A cold spot in the corner of the bedroom shifted several inches to the right, so it was no longer on Nicola’s path to bed. Whenever Nicola spoke to Malcolm, he seemed eager to agree with their every word.

In their letter Nicola asked desperately for advice as to whether or not it was possible for the unhappily deceased to fall in love with the living. The users on the forums could only provide them with advice the other way round, living people falling for ghosts, as it were. Nicola’s main concern is what would happen should they, in fact, reject Malcolm’s affections. Nicola is only in their late twenties and has set their desires in a partner to somewhere far close to the ‘living’ end of the spectrum.

Well, Nicola, I’m not sure how much use I can really be to you as I have had very limited interaction with the unhappily deceased and I have terrible trouble trying to catch anybody’s eye, dead or otherwise, so I’m not very experienced in the romantic department, either!

What I can tell you is that this actually brought to mind a very specific story I remember reading… or maybe I didn’t read it, maybe I just heard about it. The story was about a specific kind of Arcana, something not quite a ghost, but somewhat more substantial. The story goes that this creature began as all ghosts do, a memory kept alive by the tree sap of some lingering trauma, but then, the a living person caught the ghost’s eye. Nobody knew whether or not the ghost had some previously history with falling in and out of love, whether the boy he became infatuated with reminded him of someone from his living past, but what is known is that the ghost loved the boy more than anything, and went out of its way to show it.

The boy found his clothes, discarded haphazardly on his return home the night previous, folded neatly on the back of the chair. He found food in the pot which might have burned due to his inattentiveness saved and turned down to a simmer. He found a towel hanging on the bath rail even though he was certain he had forgotten to bring one with him to the bath.

Living alone, the boy thought at first he was being tormented by someone breaking into his house, so he set up cameras. But they always flickered in that tell tale way that cameras flicker when there is a creature of arcane nature nearby just before something strange was to happen. So he called in a psychic. Our own psychic, Madame Marie, attended the scene. After several ministrations she concluded that the ghost haunting the boy in our tale was no longer a ghost, but something different. More, perhaps. Possibly less. Certainly further from human than anything that the word ghost implies. He had become arcane.

Madame Marie called him the yes-man, because that’s what he did; he told the boy yes at every turn, existed to serve him. But the boy had a whole life to lead, one which could not be lived whilst his every step was haunted by this arcane thing. Madame Marie called on a few of her friends and within a week they’d eradicated the arcana. And the boy called in Stykler and Stykler to clear up the rest.

I don’t know how much help this is to you Nicole, but please don’t hesitate to contact the professionals. Stykler and Stykler’s information is available on our forums, and of course you can always get in touch with them by redacted redacted into your redacted redacted and try not to worry about the collateral damage.

Okay, faithful listeners, I’d read more with you, but as I was so rudely interrupted I think I’ve about run out of time. I could probably do with a yes-man or two in my life, couldn’t I?

Oh, stop sulking, you two.

Remember to use the forums to keep track of when other faithful listeners are trying to use the service. Thank you for tuning in to the Advice and Community Segment at Spirit Box Radio. Next year, I promise to give a little more advice and foster a warmer community spirit! I’ve been Sam Enfield, unexpectedly joined by Kitty the investigator and our sister, Anna. Say goodbye, you two.

KITTY & ANNA: Goodbye!

SAM: This is Spirit Box Radio, thank you, and goodnight!