SBR 1.33: Total Eclipse of the Start

A stopped clock is right twice a day, but if it’s running fast or slow, it’s never right at all. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.


Hello, faithful listeners, and welcome back to another episode of the Spirit Box Radio Enlightenment Segment! This week I’m joined by Kitty the Investigator, thank goodness, who also happens to be my sister. Thanks for agreeing to talk on the show, Kitty.

KITTY: No problem. This isn’t my first rodeo, after all. It’s at least my third or fourth rodeo.

SAM: Right! So, I thought we could talk about… I don’t know. I was going to ask about being Madame Marie’s investigator, but. Now I’m looking at these questions.

KITTY: Well. As much as I’m flattered by the interest on the forums… I don’t know what more to say about the house, I’m sorry. I was there. I was trapped there for what felt like a day or two, for me, but when I came out, months had passed. Extremely disorientating.

SAM: Certainly sounds it.

KITTY: I mean. I suppose I could. Talk about, Madame Marie?

SAM: [SOFTLY] That would be nice, thank you.

KITTY: ‘Kay. [PAUSE] She wasn’t a very good mother.


KITTY: What!? I don’t like to mince my words. Dealing with Anna my whole life has taught me not to bother.

SAM: Very fair and valid of you.

KITTY: Thank you. In seriousness, though. She wasn’t a very good mother, and Madame Marie was not the most beloved person in Arcanism, either. People didn’t like her. They were suspicious of her. They were like that because she was powerful. There are many that hated Spirit Box Radio; they didn’t like the idea of blending Arcanism and community like that. And as soon as she disappeared, you took over the show. Whatever else, you’re heir to that, and that’s going to make you dangerous.

SAM: ‘Heir to that?’

KITTY: Gods, you’ve not forgotten about what she scratched into the floor?

SAM: No. I mean. That’s not something you forget.

KITTY: I know. But that’s the thing. Remember what M said about words of power? They work because they’ve been used thousands, maybe millions of times, right?

SAM: Yes.

KITTY: I’m thinking. Maybe. There’s more to Spirit Box Radio than just a continuous Spirit Box broadcast. Maybe it’s about, I don’t know, fast tracking that process.

I mean, let’s just think a minute. What do we actually know about this show? Off the top of my head, I can say it was started about a decade ago, after the house collapsed on top of you, but before you woke up.

SAM: After what?!

KITTY: The old house, the now-Impossible one, you know? It collapsed on you?

SAM: When?

KITTY: The night of your seventh birthday. Anna said she’d told you pretty much everything that’s hell of a thing to leave out.

SAM: You did burst up through the floorboards. Uh. It sort of derailed her. And then you threw up over everything—

KITTY: Yes, I remember, thank you. Well, ‘m not entirely sure what happened. There was a storm, me and Anna came down and you were tied to a giant pentagram. Madame Marie was splashing blood onto you, and then the house came down. Oh, but Madame Marie dragged me and Anna out before it happened.

SAM: I– Bathsheba, what?

KITTY: I mean. [SIGH] There’s not a lot else for me to say really. We spent about six, seven hours digging through the rubble? When we found you your head was pretty bashed up, and Madame Marie put you in the boot, and we drove here.

SAM: She put me in the boot.

KITTY: Well we couldn’t put you in the back seat, you were covered in blood and sort of… glowing. In the face region.

SAM: Glowing in the face region.

KITTY: You slept for, oof, six years, give or take. But I imagine there was a lot to work through.

SAM: Six years asleep.

KITTY: I mean we took you to the hospital eventually.


When you didn’t wake up after a day or two Anna figured you’d die if we didn’t, and Madame Marie couldn’t come up with a solid excuse not to take you. They kept you there for a few months, kitted you up with a bunch of wires and tubes, you know the drill. Eventually they said there was nothing they could do for you, so we brought you home.

SAM: Why has nobody mentioned this?

KITTY: I. Sam. I’m not going to lie to you. I won’t. But it’s a painful thing to remember. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t…

I’m telling you about it now. I thought maybe. Well. I thought everything before the collapse was gone, but. I mean.


When you woke up I thought you’d remember you’d been asleep. And I got why you wouldn’t want to talk about it. It was gradual at first, a few scattered minutes, here and there, until eventually you’d be awake for days at a time.

SAM: Don’t you think. Maybe it’s significant. That the house fell on me and it’s just reappeared out of nowhere and started to… I don’t know. Lure people? That before that it was repelling them and now it’s trying to consume them or something?

KITTY: The house has been there sometimes ever since it collapsed.

SAM: So, whilst I was asleep?

KITTY: Yeah. Once I started working for her properly when I turned eighteen, she’d send me there all the time. Sometimes, there it was. Others, not. There was no pattern, no regularity. When you tried to walk up to it back then, it sort of… receded. The closer you got, the further away it seemed, like the front path was just getting longer and longer.

It changed a bit about four years ago. That’s when it started to feel like… like there was someone inside it, someone I knew and liked, but I shouldn’t bother them. It was the same when Madame Marie would go and check on it, and when she sent Astrid that one time, but that did not go as well as anyone wanted.

SAM: Why? What happened to Astrid?

KITTY: Well, she figured out that if she stood by the garden gate with no intention of going in, the house didn’t repel her. The defence mechanism wasn’t triggered. So she threw a shoe through the window and an old man in a house three streets away broke his nose when it hit him.

SAM: That’s one hard throw.

KITTY: Nah, Astrid’s got a good underarm, but she heard the glass shatter. Shoes; not known for their aerodynamic properties. To travel it that far she’d have to be a machine. Even I couldn’t manage it.

The man whose nose broke was also peppered with tiny shards of glass. It was like the house took the shoe and spat it out somewhere else.

SAM: It didn’t like the shoe.

KITTY: Clearly not.

SAM: Ha, should have given it the boot, instead.

KITTY: Quite. Anyway. So Madame Marie started Spirit Box Radio whilst you were asleep, and that’s when the house started appearing on and off. Now, I don’t know this for sure because I haven’t tried to organise the data and to be totally honest, when I went to look at the house I wasn’t exactly taking very scientific notes. But. Anecdotally, I’m pretty sure the house was changing, appearing more, and then swapping out its defence mechanism… as the listenership for the show grew.

SAM: Gods, you’re right, Kitty. The forums were set up four years ago.

KITTY: Right, the same time as the house changed tactics the first time. So the house and the show are connected. But what changed to make it start to… lure people in?

SAM: Madame Marie. That was when she… you sent an email, not long after she’d first. Gone. You were talking about the house, describing it pushing you away. You didn’t know she’d disappeared, so maybe your visit was before it happened. And then. The next time you went…

KITTY: The next time I went it lured me inside. And she was definitely… gone. Hang on.


KITTY: Here. Some notes Madame Marie gave me before she sent me on that last trip. They’re about the house. Maybe there’s something here that can help us.

SAM: Some of the words are underlined.

KITTY:Yeah, for emphasis.

SAM: She wants to emphasise the word ‘the’?

KITTY: Give it.


KITTY: The gate— No you’re right, it’s definitely just the ‘the’. How many of these have the red underlines?


SAM: Most of them.

KITTY: Spread them out.


SAM: ‘Brokered’, ‘save’, ‘the’, ‘the’, ‘was’, ‘boy’, ‘end’

KITTY: ‘Deal’, ‘nigh’, ‘the’, ‘save’, ‘is’. Deal and brokered go together, probably.

SAM: And ‘the end is nigh’

KITTY: So, ‘the deal was brokered’

SAM: ‘the end is nigh’

KITTY: ‘save the boy’

SAM: You don’t think that’s me?

KITTY: I’m almost certain it is. But. ‘or’. Wait, they’re dated! The dates are consecutive in each segment we’ve put together, look. Now, make them all consecutive.

SAM: ‘The deal was brokered, save the boy or the end is nigh’.

The man in the flat cap and shell suit, you know, the One Who Walks Here and There, whatever you want to call him. He makes deals with Arcanists and, I don’t know. He traps them or something? Takes them?

KITTY: Sort of like the house. It lures you inside and traps you there.

SAM: So the house is connected to him, somehow.

KITTY: Yeah, because of you, dummy. You’re almost definitely this guy’s kid, whoever he is.

SAM: But it still doesn’t make any sense. What deal was brokered, and what does saving me have to do with the end of the world, if that’s even what it’s talking about?

KITTY: I don’t know. Maybe this shell suit guy will start something if you’re harmed.

SAM: But he’s never shown an interest in me before.

KITTY: That’s not the only thing. This isn’t exactly a very good secret message, is it? It just took us putting them in the right order. I only haven’t noticed it because I haven’t been able to bring myself to look at them since. You know.

SAM: Yeah. If I can work it out it’s not very complicated.

KITTY: I mean, no offence.

SAM: None taken.

KITTY: I wonder… do you have any chalk?

SAM: Here. What kind of Arcanist doesn’t have chalk?


SAM: A summoning circle.

KITTY: Do you know the words for a revealing spell?

SAM: No?

KITTY: Ugh, okay. It’s easy: I invoke protection, For no more misdirection. I will receive the truth.

SAM: I invoke protection, For no more misdirection. I will receive the truth.

SAM AND KITTY TOGETHER: I invoke protection, For no more misdirection. I will receive the truth.

KITTY: Damn. Nothing. Uhh, Blue like clear sky, The truth shall not hide. By this circle drew, I will know what is true.

No. Um…

Sly and sleuth, I invoke truth.

Nothing. The last one was a dead end anyway; just a thing Anna used to say.

SAM: I bet she’d be able to tell us if there was anything else hidden here.

KITTY: Probably. But you know she doesn’t like to talk about her ‘thing’.

SAM: I know.

KITTY: It’s best not to bother her with this. The only reason she didn’t insist on sitting in with you today is because she knew I’d be here.

SAM: She worries too much.

KITTY: I don’t know. I think she worries just the right amount but in all the wrong places.

SAM: There’s another one, I think. It’s in the Little Book of Big Magic.

KITTY: I doubt something that’s referenced there is going to be much help to us.

SAM: Yeah. But maybe it’s a double bluff.

KITTY: it’s already a double bluff, because of the cipher.

SAM: No, no. A double double bluff.

KITTY: A triple bluff.

SAM: [SIGH] Whatever. Anyway.


Through your web of lies, You will open my eyes. Loosen your lips, speak to me, And give me only honesty.


KITTY: Ah! Fire!



SAM: Oh, blood, blood. Blood.


Gods, ugh.

Look. The ashes. Does that… does that look like…

KITTY: A rose wreathed in chains? Yes it does.

SAM: Hang on… I’ve seen something like this somewhere. [RUSTLING] Here. Look.

KITTY: The Unrelenting. That’s a heart in chains, not a rose. Is that… that can’t be a True Arcanist Tarot?

SAM: I… found it.

KITTY: Where? They’re so rare, almost all of them were destroyed–

SAM: When the witches were being targetted, I know.

KITTY: No, Sam. It was the witches that destroyed them. These decks accrue power like nobody’s business. Who gave this to you?

SAM: Nobody. I found it here in the studio. Under a floorboard.

KITTY: These are all the Major and Minor Arcana. And. These metal cards. What do they mean?

SAM: No idea. But. I’ve seen the heart with chains somewhere else, too. Oliver the Florist, he has a tattoo of it where his throat meets his chest, right between his collarbones. I know you’ve probably met him but you might not have seen it, he’s usually wearing that hoodie, you know. It covers it up.

KITTY: I haven’t seen it, no.

SAM: Well, I have.

KITTY: These cards are fascinating.

SAM: Kitty. Aren’t you going to ask how I’ve seen it?

KITTY: What?

SAM: Oliver’s tattoo?

KITTY: Why? From where you described it he’d just need to shift his clothes down a little and it would be right there.

SAM: I saw him shirtless, that’s what I’m saying Kitty. I was trying to be subtle.

KITTY: That was your attempt at subtlety? Gods help you.

SAM: Well, you didn’t get it.

KITTY: That’s no indication of subtlety, dear.

SAM: Fine.

KITTY: You like him, don’t you?

SAM: Yeah. [PAUSE] I went back to the shop. It was shuttered up. The windows were boarded. There was no sign of life there at all. He’s… gone.

KITTY: I can see why you like him.

SAM: Kitty. He said it was a mistake. He said he shouldn’t have spoken to me at all, that it was all a bad idea.

KITTY: I think this might be an ‘off the air’ kind of conversation?

SAM: Right. Okay. [SNIFFS] You’re probably right. But. The Faithful Listeners, I need– I feel better once I’ve spoken to them about things like this. I don’t know why but I just. I find it so much easier to talk, when I know they’re listening.


SAM: What do you mean ‘hmm’?

KITTY: Concerns me, is all.

SAM: Okay.

KITTY: Come on. You need to wrap up your episode. Talking about how much you like speaking to your listeners and here you are, neglecting them.

SAM: Oh, of course, uh. Faithful Listeners, I hope that you don’t feel neglected. That certainly wasn’t my intention. This was certainly a very enlightening instalment of the Enlightenment Segment, though perhaps not in the ways I originally intended! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I… well. I didn’t enjoy it, exactly, but I did learn a lot. I always love spending time with Kitty. Thank you for tuning in, Faithful Listeners and remember, don’t post in the thread about the man in the Flat Cap and Shell Suit. If you have any information about.. whatever is going on here. About this situation. Post it in the new ‘research and recon’ section. For now, though, I’ve been your host, Sam Enfield, and I bid you all, a restful night.

| Content Warnings |

– Background music of varying volumes

– Complex grieving for an abusive/neglectful parent

– Descriptions of past child neglect

– Mention of serious head trauma

– Description of prolonged state of unconsciousness

– Mentions of hospitals and hospitalisation

– Mentions of ITU/ICU care

– Mentions of blood (from a nosebleed)

– Fire (brief, not life endangering, with a quiet sound effect)

– Implications of murder or wrongful death

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