[COMPUTER MOUSE CLICKING]
SAM: Hello? Hello?
[RELIEVED] Oh thank goodness, it’s working! Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello Faithful Listeners, welcome back to the Spirit Box Radio Enlightenment Segment. I thought I was going to have to miss this week’s episode because. Well. I– I don’t know what happened, to be perfectly honest with you. The last thing I remember was hosting the show. I know things started to go wrong but I don’t really know the extent of it? But I woke up on the floor here in the studio, right by the desk, and when I looked at the computer, well. It was time to broadcast the show.
I think I’ve been asleep for the entire week. I…
Ugh, my wrists are killing me.
And I’m covered in something, ah.
Dust? No it’s… it’s chalk. I am absolutely covered in chalk. And there is paper everywhere, loads of drawings of the white door and– oh. The chalk. The floor of the studio it’s. It’s covered with chalk drawings and carvings in the wood. It’s all the door and—-
[HISS OF PAIN]
Ah! My whole body is killing me I—
[HISS OF PAIN]
Ow, ow, ow. My arms are full of splinters. A!
[LOUD, MUFFLED MEOWING]
Oh, gods. The cats!
[SAM YELPS IN PAIN]
Trod on the cursed knife, I, ow, ow, OW.
[DOOR CLATTERS OPEN]
Oh, I’m sorry, darlings, hang on, I’m so sorry.
[SAM SHUFFLES ACROSS THE ROOM, HEAVES HIMSELF UP THE STAIRS]
SAM: [STILL FAR FROM THE MIC] Oh darlings, darlings I’m so sorry, hello, hello, hello.
[SAM HEAVES HIMSELF UP, HISSING IN PAIN, AND RETURNS TO THE COMPUTER]
SAM: Hello, you obsidian majesty, I’m so sorry.
SAM: I don’t shut you out, do I darling?
SAM: No, no, no. love you, I do, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Here.
SAM: There you go, sweet babies, there.
Ow, ow, no, I’m sorry you can’t sit on me, I’m full of. Tiny knives made of wood. Ugh, there’s so many of them I, I don’t know. Do I just. Do I just pluck them out one by one? I just want them out, I can’t stand this I–
[SOUND OF PAIN]
Oh. Oh. They’ve all. They’ve uh. They’ve…
[CHAIR CREAKS. A THUD. THUD]
SAM: Wha– what? Hello?
SAM: Yes. Sorry. Slightly… slightly passing out. Sorry, ugh.
Oh, you’re kidding. My nose is bleeding now? Seriously?
Uff, hang on. Hang on, ugh. Hang on.
There we go. Great.
Okay! So. The forums… huh. The thread about the Man in the Flat Cap? Hang on, I. Did I delete this? I swear I deleted this, didn’t I? If you seek him but don’t search, and this is searching, isn’t it? And if we want to find him we don’t want to search. Right?
Okay. So. Settings, delete. Great. Gone and–
It’s… back. It’s back again.
Oh, Karl is typing!
Karl says… Karl says, Madame Marie didn’t make this thread. The users made this thread because you were already trying to put the pieces together.
Oh, Gods! No! Oliver. I was supposed to meet him, he was going to show me the botanical gardens, oh, I’ve ruined it, I’ve killed it, oh no. I– Oh gods. I should call him. I’ll call.
Where’s the number, I oh— oops! No! The tarot deck, gods, it’s all over the floor, I.
Huh. The Unrelenting. This heart, in chains, it looks like. Huh, Oliver has a tattoo just this, on his chest, the… what’s the pointy of the heart? The aorta? It starts right between his collarbones. It looks just like this. A heart in chains and… barbed wire, maybe? Or thorns.
Huh. I. I’ll call him. I’ll ask him and —
The cards on the floor. They’re all face down apart from three of them, again. Ignorance, Ingratitude, and Indifference, again. I wonder if… but I just knocked them, I wasn’t asking it anything. It just. Fell like that. But, still. I.
Oliver. He’ll know. I can ask him.
Okay, lets call him
[PHONE IS ANSWERED]
SAM: Hello, Oliver?
OLIVER: Sam. How wonderful to hear from you.
SAM: Oh, I oh. Th-thank you. I’m sorry I’ve not been in touch this week, I know we were supposed to go to the Botanical Gardens, and I’m so sorry, I. I was asleep. I’m sorry. It’s so good to hear your voice. You know I could listen to you talk all day and never get tired of it?
OLIVER: How very flattering.
SAM: Oliver. I. I’m sorry. I. Um. Do you remember you said, the night we, uh. Ehem. When I came and hosted the show from your shop? You were asking to see Madame Marie’s weird tarot deck?
OLIVER: The True Arcanist Tarot?
SAM: I mean. I– sorry, I don’t remember a lot of what you told me, I was sort of…uh. Distracted. Anyway. What did you say it was for?
OLIVER: A guide to understanding what arcana you might be encountering.
SAM: So. You can use it to work out what it is you’re dealing with, theoretically? How would you work that?
OLIVER: As any ordinary deck, of course. Connect with the cards and ask the right questions and you’ll get an appropriate answer.
SAM: Um, but there are cards here that don’t make sense, they aren’t written down anywhere. I can’t find anything about what they mean.
OLIVER: [VERY SERIOUS] What cards have you drawn?
SAM: I– I mean, I didn’t draw anything, that’s the thing. I just sort of dropped the deck and… three of them landed face up and the others were face down. Twice. The ones I could see were Ingratitude, Ignorance and Indifference.
OLIVER: The three Inconvenient Sins. An irritating bunch of Major Arcana. The True Arcanist Tarot can be fickle and misleading at times. If you don’t know the deck well enough… Suffice it to say, answers can be difficult to interpret at the best of times and if you don’t have a strong enough relationship to the deck it is want to mislead you.
SAM: You’re talking like it’s alive.
OLIVER: It’s not. Not any more than a ghost or an echo is alive. But it is imbued with the arcane, it feeds off it. The more powerful the thing drawing the cards, the more powerful the deck becomes, and this deck, I fear, has grown beyond its intended power.
SAM: The thing drawing the cards? I don’t understand.
OLIVER: True Arcanist Tarot has use beyond the remit of witches and Arcanists, Sam. It was made by human hands but it has great appeal for any arcana seeking to stack the deck, as it were.
SAM: I don’t understand.
OLIVER: As I told you before, most of the decks were destroyed, and it was with good reason. Some arcanists trade with the arcane to build their power and with a True Arcanist Tarot in their hands they can become near impossible to stop.
SAM: Madame Marie… if she traded with the arcane, then… How do you even do that?
OLIVER: With earnest desperation.
SAM: I still don’t understand, Oliver, I need you to explain properly and stop talking in riddles and vagaries.
OLIVER: I’m sorry. I’m trying. But I am—
SCOURGE: If you seek him, but do not search, then you will find him.
SAM: You! You cut off my conversation with Rhytidia! Ominous Phone Guy! Who are you?
SCOURGE: Wrong question again, Samael.
OLIVER: [AGHAST] No.
SCOURGE: I’m afraid so.
OLIVER: I must leave. I should have left. I should not have invited you back to the shop.
SAM: [HURT] What are you saying?
OLIVER: I can’t do this. I’m sorry.
SAM: Oliver, wait I—-
SAM: I don’t understand.
SCOURGE: All in time, little bit.
SAM: You’re still there. But the call, it disconnected!
SCOURGE: If you seek him, but do not search. Then you will find him.
SAM: I– wondered if you were him, but you’re not, are you? You’re someone else. Something else.
SCOURGE: Ah, you’re getting warmer.
SAM: I’m— what?
[ELECTRICAL FIZZ, CRACKLING]
Gods, no. NO.
SAM: Darling, no, you can’t—
SAM: The Crystal Ball.
Nagisa… Nagisa said in that letter it had something to do with Madame Marie’s power but… but it seemed like she couldn’t look into it properly without Janet.
No. No Janet said. [DEEP BREATH] They said that. That if Madame Marie was close all they could see was ‘her bloke’.
SAM: What if it’s him, what if it’s the Man in the Flat Cap? Revel you’re a genius.
SAM: But that guy I just spoke to who– scared Oliver? I don’t know. I. He’s not the Man in the Flat Cap, I’m sure of it, but I know his voice. I know it.
SAM: What? You want me to look at it. It’s pointless, you know, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t work like a proper crystal ball and— and it never makes any sense.
Okay, okay. Fine.
SAM: [SLIGHTLY DAZED]
Madame Marie paces the floor of her studio. In her hand is a note. She hopes beyond hope that what she has done is enough. She hopes beyond hope that the bonds will hold and the strings won’t come unravelled.
But she has a plan in place. She has built it herself. The Man in the Flat Cap and Shell Suit might be the broker of deals, and maybe he is the master of her power, but long before she met him, she had had her wits. It’s her wits and her cunning that will save her now. Perhaps she shouldn’t have taken the deal but she is sure even know she holds cards he cannot see.
And yet still she must plan because there is a chance, a chance she is wrong, like she was wrong about the boy. And she has to make sure the breadcrumb trail is left for him to follow. It’s important to make him blind, she reminds herself. It was important to keep him weak. He cannot know the truth, not yet. That much she is certain of. But if it all goes wrong and the Man Who Walks Here and There comes for her, there will be nobody left to explain it.
Nobody but the Man himself.
And Marie knows that his words are acid.
And then Madame Marie is not alone.
There are three upon the threshold. Here and there, and nowhere at all. Their clothes are nondescript, but for the one standing in the middle, who wears a leather jacket. She tilts her chin, eyes distant, faraway. She looks at her nails. The one on her left sighs and combs a hand through their long braided hair. The third, the smallest of the three, stares directly at Marie, a spitting fierceness in her eyes. Madame Marie does not quiver before them.
The one with the leather jacket begins to speak. ‘Would you like to hear a story?’
Madame Marie scoffs. ‘Why on earth would I want that?
SAM: Have you heard the one…
[SAM’s VOICE FADES AND IS REPLACED BY INDI’S]
INDI: Have you heard the one about the Hare and the Tortoise? The Hare challenges the Tortoise to a race. The Hare hippity hops all the way to a few feet from the finish line and then stops for a nap. The Tortoise catches up, overtakes the napping Hare, and wins.
Not very sporting, is it?
Well, what does this story teach us? Never trust a Tortoise? Don’t succumb to hubris?
No. It teaches us that skill is arbitrary. Sportsmanship is arbitrary. Nothing matters. So, why are you still trying to play by the rules?
M: This isn’t a game, and if it was, we’re all losing.
INDI: So take your piece off the board.
M: Can’t you see that I’m trying?
SAM: I’m trying?!
She was trying to… what? Stop playing the game?
She did this, it’s a… it’s a game, a joke, a last hurrah. The room. It was set up. She labelled everything. A trick, she used me like a trick. If you seek him but do not search…
Don’t search. What if I don’t want to find him, what if I just want to… know?
You. Crystal Ball, or, I don’t know, whatever you are. Show me the Man in the Flat Cap.
Madame Marie… Madame Marie… folds the laundry….
No, no, no. No, not M, not her. I need to see him. Show me the Man Who Walks Here and There.
Madame Marie… she… NO!
SHOW ME THE MAN WHO WALKS HERE AND THERE!
[THE SOUND STOPS]
[SAM’S BREATH, QUIET, ECHOING]
[A SECOND BREATH SPLITS OFF FROM SAM’S, AT FIRST JUST A HAIR OUT OF TIME, BUT GRADUALLY MORE SO]
OTHER: If you search, you will never find him. If you seek him but do not search, then you will find him.
SAM: But it doesn’t make any sense! Show him to me.
OTHER: If you seek him but do not search, then you will find him.
SAM: I don’t want to find him, I just want to see where he is!
OTHER: If you search, you will never find him.
SAM: But. No.
SAM: Who are you?
OTHER: A mirror.
SAM: A mirror?
OTHER: Not for you. But within me you can find yourself.
SAM: I– I’m sorry? What? What are you talking about?
SAM: Death? But. I don’t understand. Am I going to die?
OTHER: You will, in time.
SAM: Tell me what’s going on.
OTHER: I answer to you, Heir Apparent.
SAM: Heir Apparent.
OTHER: Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown. You speak and will be heard.
SAM: What does that mean? I don’t understand.
OTHER: You will, in time.
SAM: In time. Why does everyone keep saying that? Why won’t anyone just tell me anything!?
OTHER: The price must be paid.
SAM: The price?
OTHER: This debt will be paid in blood.
SAM: In blood? Wait, my blood?
OTHER: More than you have lost already. Samael Apollo Enfield, Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown. You speak, and will be heard.
SAM: And the price is paid in blood and roses. Wait. What did I just say?
Ugh, my throat.
OTHER: All in time.
OTHER: All in time.
SAM: All what?
OTHER: All you seek.
SAM: All I…
SAM: Oliver. Show me him. Show me where he’s gone.
SAM: Oliver Boleyn crosses the threshold.
OTHER: He looks at the darkened sky and—
*SAM: thinks of Samael Enfield, and it hurts to know he must leave him behind and it hurts it hurts it HURTS, I CAN’T, it’s wrong, there is something wrong it’s like he’s. He’s not dead but he’s not alive, ah, I can’t do this, please.
*OTHER: and thinks of Samael Enfield. It hurts to think of the sadness in his voice and know that may be the last time he hears it, but Oliver has known this pain before, and he has known he would feel it again, but the agony is sharper and less sweet than he had thought it might be after so long spent alone—
SAM: PLEASE, NO. I DON’T WANT TO FEEL IT. I don’t want to be in his head, I don’t, I can’t. STOP.
SAM: [SADLY] Stop.
SAM: Oliver. Oliver. Gods, what happened to him?
OTHER: I– cannot — it is. Knowledge I cannot bestow. I am only a mirror. I am but an echo.
SAM: [CRYING] An echo? Wait… the cards, the cards… the suit of Spirits, wraith, ghost, [SNIFF] echo. Is this you? Is it you?
OTHER: I am Samael Apollo Enfield, Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown.
SAM: What? No, you’re not. That’s me. I’m Samael.
OTHER: I am only an echo.
SAM: What does that mean? Who’s telling you what to show me? Why don’t you ever just do what I ask?
OTHER: Heir Apparent, I answer to you.
SAM: WELL DON’T.
[GLASS SHATTERS, A DISEMBODIED GASP OF PAIN]
SAM: Oh. I. That.
[LAUGHING] That was me. I did that. I did that. I told it. And it. It shattered. It just shattered.
It’s in a million tiny pieces.
[HE CONTINUES TO LAUGH, REACHING HYSTERIA]
Oh I feel so. SO. So…
[THE LAUGHTER DIES IN THIER VOICE, AND THEY BREATHE A QUIET, SHAKING BREATH]
Oh. Faithful listeners I… I’m sorry. I think I need to sleep. [MUMBLING] Gonna try and call Oliver again.
I slept all week but I– I am. I’m so tired. I wish you a restful slumber. Goodnight.
| Content Warnings |
– Background music of varying volumes
– Distorted vocals
– Implications of child-neglect
– Brief sounds of physical discomfort
– Brief instance of yelling
– Sounds of emotional distress (shaky voices)
– Cries of pain
– Gasping, panic breaths
– Implied unconsciousness/fainting
– Blood, nosebleeds
– Implications of murder or wrongful death
– Whispering (audio boosted for loudness in this portion)
– Echo effect
– Loss of bodily autonomy
– Crying and sobbing
– Glass shattering
Have we missed something? Tell us here.