Now and then I remember just how alive I really am and it shoots through me like an arrow to the chest and fills me up with sunlight. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello, Faithful Listeners! Welcome back to the Spirit Box Radio Enlightenment Segment, where we shed light on the Arcane Arts. Oh, Faithful Listeners. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed our trip to the Hatfield Karpos last week! I’m so excited for when we’re invited back again. It’s going to be so fun. And Oliver. [GIGGLE] He. Ah. Oliver.
Yes, well. We really get on and that’s, you know. It’s good. I–
He listens to the show. Hi, Oliver. Hey. Um.
There was quite a lot I had meant to discuss with Oliver that I didn’t get quite around to doing. We talked a little bit when we went out for brunch the next day about Madame Marie. He’d known her for most of her life, apparently. It’s very strange, hearing him talking about meeting her in the 1970s when he barely looks older than I do. Apparently he used to tend to the garden at her grandmother’s apothecary, in exchange for supplies. M lived with her from when she was tiny, apparently. Something bad happened to her parents but Oliver doesn’t know what, exactly. Or at least, he would say what, if he did.
M’s grandmother apparently went by the name ‘The Miraculous Madame Marie’. Oliver even gave me an old flyer he had in a drawer.
‘The Arcanist’s Apothecary. Healing, supplies and spiritual guidance. One-on-one sessions with the Miraculous Madame Marie available upon enquiry.’
There’s a little sketch of a cauldron in the corner. Oliver said Madame Marie drew them. By Madame Marie, I mean. M. I don’t remember her drawing anything other than circles or runes…
I asked him about the shop itself. Oliver shrugged and smiled this strange little smile. He said it closed a few years after Madame Marie’s grandmother died. She tried to run the shop on her own, apparently, but despite her interest in the Arcane, she never quite mastered it. Oliver sighed, then, with a pretty sort of wistfulness. He said that magic is like singing; almost anyone can do it, really, but some people just sound better through a total fluke of luck. He said it more nicely than that, I remember, because I was really impressed but I was so busy being impressed I forgot to commit the exact words he said to memory.
You know, he had an entire cup of syrup on his pancakes? There were only two of them, and they were completely drowned in the stuff. He sipped it from his spoon like it was soup and raised an eyebrow when he caught me watching. He said sugar is the most important thing in the world; everything else is just to stay alive.
There was, also. Well. I may or may not have accidentally destroyed a bottle of very expensive red wine, ha. Oliver was really nice about it, but the bottle was so old it had dust on it, and. Well. It was like with my tea? There was a moment where the glass shattered, and the liquid was held, and I knew, Oliver saw it too because in that brief moment he looked up at me and his green eyes were so wide and feral, and then, there was glass and wine everywhere. It was a mess. He was really nice about it but. Oh, I don’t know. It’s just really embarrassing.
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about my Florist for the day!
It’s been an interesting week on the forums. Tuesday next week will actually be four years since they got set up! Isn’t that exciting?! A couple of users are planning a little live hangout on there to mark the occasion. I’ll be hanging out, so I look forward to speaking with you as best I can. You’ll have to be patient with me as I’m still learning the ropes!
I’d like to thank you all for your continued recommendations on the forums for new kinds of media to watch now I can use internet whenever I like. I’ve been particularly enjoying all of the animes that have been sent in my direction! Keep them coming, guys, I’m really enjoying it! I do feel slightly bad about the crisis this seems to have brought on in our very own Regular Caller Beth, though, who seemed to think that Sailor Moon was much more recent a show than it actually is, and seems to have completely forgotten her own age!
Happens to the best of us, Beth! With my memory problems, I find it hard to keep track of things too. I can only really remember the last three or four birthdays I’ve had. It was like one day I was a kid and the next I was turning eighteen, with no time in between! So don’t worry, Beth, I’m sure it’ll come back to you.
Even if it doesn’t, that’s okay, don’t worry! You’re not alone.
You all had rather a lot to say about Oliver, particular in regard of his… long-lived-ness. But he seemed really uncomfortable talking about it so I didn’t want to press him, and I won’t be doing so until he. Well. If he wants to talk about it of course I’m very curious but I am not going to press the issue.
A few have been asking for updates about Kitty, and I wish I could give you some, but, I just, I can’t get through to her. I don’t know what’s going on. That message she left on the answer machine was the last thing I heard from her and I— I trust that Kitty can look after herself, I do. She can kick through walls and she once told me she hasn’t left the house without a knife since she was eight, so. She’ll be fine. I trust her.
Anna, on the other hand. I… I saw her through the window of her house. I know that sounds super creepy but… I on my way back from Oliver’s on Saturday I, I decided I’d walk rather than take the bus and go past Anna’s place. Not even to knock on the door, just to, you know, see. If she’s trying to draw a boundary I want to respect that but I needed to know she was at least okay.
I saw her through the window, with that fiancee of hers, Henry. George. James? I don’t know, I can’t remember his name. She was reading, in her pyjamas, everything looked so normal. She seemed fine. So. Yeah. There’s that. I’m… glad she’s okay. So I’ll let her be, now. That’s what she wants, I think. I mean I guess, I just. I wish she’d said something instead of just leaving.
Ugh, well. There you are. That’s all I know about that for now.
Back to forum things! User LilyPadLeap sent an interesting message regarding her daughter that nobody seemed to be able to find an answer for, so I thought I’d share it here now, so if any of you non-forum-using faithful listeners have a chance to provide some insight, too!
Here’s what LilyPadLeap had to say:
Long time lurker, first time poster here. Some experience with Arcane Arts but not much. I’m a single mum to a wonderful daughter who is about to turn six. She loves to be outdoors and has a really strong connection with nature, and I think that maybe she has some kind of proclivity for the Arcane Arts but I’m not sure as I don’t really know what I’m looking for and she’s so little still it’s hard to know how that would show up.
She and I were at the local park over the weekend. I ran into a friend of mine there, who has brought her own daughters to the park. We got to chatting as our girls climbed all over everything and had a wail of a time. After about half an hour or so on the swings, my daughter came up to me and asked if they could go and run on the playing field. Next to the park is a large playing field which has some trees and hedges. People let their dogs off the lead, throw balls and frisbees. One section is kept mown short for playing football and other things like that. My daughter likes to run across the playing field, pretending to be a dog or a horse or a unicorn or a dragon, whatever takes her fancy. It’s big, but it’s enclosed, and from the bench in the park you can see pretty much the whole field. My friends girls are older than mine, eight and ten, so I agreed that they could all go running on the field together provided they stayed in our eyeline. They skipped off all giddy and my friend and I carried on chatting.
After ten minutes or so, I realised I couldn’t see any of the girls anywhere. My friend and I called them to… no avail. I wasn’t panicking at this point because my daughter is just beginning to learn to climb trees and is a little bit in love with it; so its entirely possible she and her friends were so engrossed in an expedition at the far edge of the field that they didn’t notice us calling. We shouted again and started off in different directions to walk the perimeter of the park.
My friend found our daughters in the bottom corner, where the trees are the oldest, the trunks thick and covered in ivy. They were squatting on the leaf-thick ground. My daughter had a doll in her hands made of twigs and grass. All three of them were extremely enamoured with it. Luckily, my friends daughters have been raised right and let my daughter have the doll without a fuss because she was the youngest and most likely to kick off if she didn’t get to keep the damn thing!
I gave her a bit of a lecture about paying attention even when she’s busy playing, and make sure she listens out for her name in case for whatever reason we need to leave in a hurry. She wasn’t really listening, though; she was staring at this little doll. She called it ‘Twig Lady’. She carried it with her around the house for the rest of the day, and even took it with her to bed that night. I didn’t get a chance to have a proper look at it until she was asleep.
It was made of five sticks, primarily; a thick one in the centre, and four smaller ones bound onto it with straw-like twine in the position of arms and legs. There was grass wrapped around the centre, filling out the torso, and a clump of it tied around the head like a mop of raggedy, faded green hair. The top of the stick in the centre had a twisted knot like a hooked nose, two cut notch lines for eyes, and a thick, deep slash, almost to the centre of the middle twig, as a gaping mouth. The longer I looked at it, the less I liked it.
Even so, I figured my opinion didn’t really matter. My daughter liked her and that was that. She’d probably lose interest in Twig Lady pretty quickly, and if not, she wasn’t made well enough to last more than a couple of days. I put Twig Lady back under the covers with my daughter and went on with the rest of my evening. I checked in on her at about two when I was finally turning in for the night, and she was, fast asleep, clutching the doll.
The next morning, I woke up late. It was weird because my daughter is like a natural alarm clock; unless she’s sick she’s usually up with the sun, tearing through the house from six or so in the morning. But there was no sign of her. I peeked into her room, found her curled up still, and roused her for breakfast. She sat up and looked at me, clearly confused, and asked me where Twig Lady had gone.
I wondered if maybe I’d forgotten to put the damn thing back in my daughter’s bed when I was finished examining it, but even so, I didn’t take it out of her bedroom. We looked under her pillow, down the side of her bed, even inside the duvet cover. No sign of Twig Lady. We looked for the doll for half an hour before my daughter conceded that we could pause for breakfast before we continued the search.
I sorted her a bowl of cheerios and a glass of orange juice, and when I went into the cutlery drawer… there was Twig Lady.
My daughter was absolutely delighted.
She played with Twig Lady all day and that night went to bed with her tucked into the covers again. Again, I went to bed around two in the morning, and looked in on my daughter to find her clutching Twig Lady to her chest. I climbed into bed, slept the night, and the next morning woke up to a loud crash.
I figured my daughter had been trying to sort out her own breakfast and knocked something over so I slouched out into the hall, only to find her standing in her own bedroom doorway, blearily rubbing her eyes.
We went downstairs together.
The cutlery drawer was on the floor, and there, in the centre of the gleaming silver knives, forks and spoons, was Twig Lady.
My daughter was thrilled, but. I don’t know. When I went to pick up Twig Lady one of her spindly arms seemed different, like it was reaching. The more I looked at Twig Lady the more I felt that she was looking back at me with her slashed, slitted eyes.
Have any of you heard of anything like this before? The doll can’t possibly be moving by itself, can it?
LPL xx (kiss kiss)
Thank you, LilyPadLeap! The level of detail you provide here has been really helpful. I can see you’ve actually been able to talk to some other people on the forums about the doll, though nobody has been able to give you anything particularly useful yet. I’m sorry about that! I don’t personally know enough about dolls or Arcanism to provide anything useful to you but hopefully broadcasting your message will garner a little more attention from those Faithful Listeners who don’t use the forums that regularly, or at all.
I suppose I—
You know, it’s not about mud, but maybe Rhytidia Delphus would have something useful to contribute here? I don’t know. I’ve been meaning to call her to ask some thing about M, but. Just to hear what she thinks about the letter I found, and whether she might know anything else about what M had gotten herself wrapped up into but.
I’ve been putting it off. I don’t know why. I… I don’t know. I want to help, I want to know, I want to find out what happened to Madame Marie but. It’s. I. I don’t know.
But! That shouldn’t stop me from trying to help you, Faithful Listeners, so I should give it a go. I’m sure she’ll be perfectly… civil. She’s… fine. I’ll. It’ll be fine.
Right, where’s that… number?
[THUD, COINS SCATTER]
Ah, here we go, I’ll just…
[TAPS NUMBER INTO ROTARY PHONE]
SAM: Um? Hello? Rhytidia? It’s Sam.
RHYTIDIA: Samael Enfield.
SAM: Right, that’s me, I—
RHYTIDIA: What do you need?
SAM: Well, someone wrote into the show about a doll made of sticks which has maybe started moving around of its own accord.
RHYTIDIA: Hmm. Muddy stick, was it?
SAM: I mean, I assume so. They didn’t actually say. I can ask, or—
RHYTIDIA: [exasperated] Kids these days… where was the stick found? Local park? The woods?
SAM: A playing field at a local park.
RHYTIDIA: Good, good, I—
RHYTIDIA: Samael? Are you even listening?
RHYTIDIA: That crackling – are you trying to do something because I don’t think it’s—
SAM: Do something? What do you mean?
Do something? Rhytidia? Hello??
SCOURGE: [playfully menacing] Well, hello there. Isn’t this cosy?
RHYTIDIA: [filled with dread] You. It’s you.
SCOURGE: It’s me.
SCOURGE: She can’t hear you, little bit.
SAM: Who are you?
SCOURGE: Wrong question.
SAM: What do you mean?
SCOURGE: Wrong. Question.
SAM: Why are you doing this?
SCOURGE: Wrong again.
[STATIC BRIEFLY RETURNS AND CUTS OFF]
SAM: Hello? Hello? [his own voice echoes back at him]
[SOUNDS WARP AND SHIFT, FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING]
SAM: Kitty! Oh my god, Kitty! Can you hear me?
KITTY: Hello, is anyone there?
SAM: Kitty, please, listen, it’s really important—
KITTY: Hello? Sam are you there? I need help. I’m in the old house. I don’t know what to do. Nothing makes any sense. It’s changed. It;s wrong. It’s too big and I can’t find the door. I can’t get out and there’s three of these… I don’t know what they are they aren’t ghosts, but they aren’t human. Sam, please, tell Anna–
SAM: Kitty! No!
Damn it. I’ve lost her.
She’s talking to me, this is not like what happened with Madame Marie. She’s okay. She’s okay. She’s going to be okay.
She’s not dead.
The Impossible House.
We used to live there, that’s what Kitty and Anna said. And we. Left.
Damn my useless memory, why can’t I remember? There’s something important. Something happened. What happened? What? I…
That voice. I know that voice, the one that interrupted Rhytidia. I know it. It’s the same one as on the recording machine the other day, but I know it, I know it from somewhere else and I. Who is it?
[TEARFULLY] I just. I can’t make the pieces fit together in my head.
I… I know them. I know them. Who are they? Gods, why do I know your voice? Gods, who are you!!
Wait. Wait wait wait. I.
I, I dreamed… I dreamed I was walking through an empty town. All the houses, perfectly lit. There was nobody there, nobody but me, and I was walking. Walking for so long. And there was nobody there but it made sense because I… it was…it was… the whole town it went on and on and on and one—
It was all there, right there, just behind the door.
[WHISPER] The white door.
I was a kid. I was a kid. I– she, she took me. Places. I was. I could do. I had… power. I could think I could speak, I spoke and… they heard me I…
[CRY OF PAIN]
My head, my head, my head.
No. No, I was thinking, I was THINKING. I COULD REMEMBER.
No, it’s gone. It was so close and it’s gone. Gods.
Okay, it’s fine. This is fine. I can do this, we can do this, can’t we? It’s going to be alright. Everything is going to be fine, Faithful Listeners. Right? We can work together on this, can’t we?
So often you see things that I miss because I– because I don’t know what I’m doing. But you can help me, because you notice things that I miss, and I don’t have to do this alone. Even though Kitty and Anna aren’t here, and M is gone. We’re together, aren’t we?
Right. Well. If you have anything you can tell me about the Impossible House, or. Me. Or. About the Twig Lady. Ch-check in on the forums. Or call into the show, if you want. The line is open, even when the show isn’t airing. You can just call, if you need.
I can do this. We can do this, Faithful Listeners.
I know we can.
For now, I bid you a restful night.
| Content Warnings |
– Background music of varying volumes
– Mentions of wine (the explosion of a bottle of wine is discussed)
– Mentions of memory loss (forgetting own age)
– Mention of knives
– Mention of arguable stalking (Sam goes and looks at Anna through the window of her house, but he draws a line under it)
– Background bog sounds (water running, gurgling, birds cawing)
– Implied threats of violence
– Sounds of emotional distress (shaky voices)
– Implications of child neglect
– Swearing (two instances, mild (Sam says ‘shit’ twice in succession))
– Cry of pain
– Shouting in frustration (levelled so it’s not massively louder than the rest of the dialogue, but the tone is shouty)
– Implications of murder or wrongful death
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