You can’t live in the moment. It’s fleeting, ephemeral, over before you can conceive of it. So, maybe you can live in the moment, as in physically, but you cannot ever think in the moment, only just after or just before. It is too brief. Impossibly brief. Welcome Back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello Faithful Listeners. In light of recent events I really think I should probably stop airing the show, at least for some time. But the problem is that I cannot seem to stop. I have no desire to even as a quiet part of my brain is telling me that I should. It’s a compulsion, maybe? I don’t know. I work so hard. I can’t imagine my life without it. I don’t want to.
Anyway, I wrote to Nagisa last week, after Oliver left. He mentioned the Algiz on my throat and Anna said she doesn’t think I had it when I was little. So I thought I’d ask Nagisa, as they seem to have a bit of knowledge of what kinds of weird Arcanism things Madame Marie was doing way back when. I don’t know how long it will be until we hear back from them. It sounds like it takes some time for them to respond to anything and. Well. You know.
It’s all rather besides the point, I suppose.
I shall press on, never fear, Faithful Listeners! I’ll not let my meagre spirits rob you of your Enlightenment Segment yet.
I have an Augury Forecast for this week, Faithful Listeners!
I found this one squeezed into the margins of a menu that came through the door, I shall share it with you now.
If you walk beneath the trees, expect a drop from the heavens.
Word from the pigeons in Bath is that it’s a bad time in general so don’t worry about it.
Dear Mr Enfield.
Please, call me Sam, Mr Enfield was. Uh. Well. I don’t know if there ever has been one, to be honest. Anyway. Just Sam will do. Anyway.
Uh. Hang on.
Where did this letter come from? I was just reading off the menu and I turned the page because there was more augury forecast on the next one and— there’s a letter here. I. I don’t… understand.
Well. I may as well read it, I suppose.
Ah, okay, um…
[SAM’S VOICE CHANGES, TURNING SOFTER, MOUSIER]
Dear Mr Enfield,
I am not sure how to begin this. You know of my child, though I’m told you do not know as much about him as you rightly should. According to him, you would have been friends with him when he was a child, but from what I gather you don’t have any recollection of your childhood and so I imagine that your recollections of him would be gone, too. That is, if any of this is real. I’m of half a mind to think this is all some elaborate kind of hoax.
But I know that at least in some ways, it can’t be. Because I saw her, my Georgie, I saw her in my house.
They were not the way they used to be, when they came to me.
I don’t know how to describe it.
In films and things they always show the ghosts as kind of transparent, colours washed out. But Georgie was more colour than anything else. There was no shape of him, and yet there was something there. It was definitely Georgie. I would know him anywhere. And yet. I could tell there was less of them than there should have been. She was flickering, indistinct. It would be a mistake to describe him as lesser or anything like that but he certainly was not whole. As I watched he moved under my gaze, like TV static. When he spoke it came out of the walls and the floors rather than the thing of them itself.
You see, Mr Enfield. I have never had much cause to believe in ghosts.
I have lived on Banemouth Road for many years. It’s a quiet kind of street, more of a lane really, shadowed half in trees. I moved here when my children were very small. It was the garden that did it, if I’m honest with you. A little stream runs along the back, and myself and most others on the street have our own little gates which open right onto it. When my children were small, they’d paddle there in the summer, collect frog spawn and the like. I grew up in a city and I was determined to give my children a connection with nature I feel I had been robbed of in my own childhood but…
I do wonder if in the end we’d have all been better off had we stayed in the city after all.
I think Georgie was eight when they started to talk about the house on the corner. They’d go off out the gate by the stream and be gone all day until it was time for tea, and then they’d sit and jabber their way through dinner about the house and the boy that lived there.
Perhaps it was my fault Georgie ended up the way she did. I have encouraged my children to be imaginative. I read them fairy stories. When they were small I’d take them on walks around the woods of Dyserth and make up myths and legends. I told them the crevice filled with wildflowers at the top of the waterfall was a fairy garden. I told them trolls lived in the little caves just off the footpath to the old quarry. I taught them to tell stories. So at first this house on the corner, a corner which is and always has been just a flat expanse of grass and weeds, well. It didn’t bother me. I dare say I even encouraged it. It was Georgie’s little game and that was fine.
The thing is, when Georgie grew up and left to go to university, as children are meant to do, they still mentioned the house on the corner. And after a few years I started to get concerned because it was stagnating from an ordinary childhood game to a grown up obsession.
He told me: ‘The boy was younger than me but he never went to school, I checked the records.’
I told them that was because Sam Enfield didn’t exist and neither did the house on the corner.
Three months later, my Georgie disappeared.
There was all this stuff online, people speculating, saying Georgie was involved in the occult, but then others, they were saying something else; Arcanism. I don’t know. It was all really upsetting but strange things had started happening even before Georgie vanished.
It started with the milkman. It was one of the best things about living in a small village, that we got a milkman who would stop by every three or four days and leave fresh milk, juice and bread on the doorstep. One day, though, it just stopped. I rang them up, asked what had happened, and they seemed to not know who I was. I went to the shop on the high street the next morning when I knew they’d be stopping in to stock the fridges, and they didn’t recognise me then, either, even though I’d known them for years. Not until we actually started speaking did they recognise who I was.
That autumn we didn’t get the yellow pages or the phone book. The kids who did the paper-round stopped coming down our road. And when I signed up to amazon to do some shopping online, our address didn’t come up when I put in the postcode, only the houses on Pandy Lane. It was like the whole of Banemouth Road had been erased.
When Georgie went off to university, they struggled at first because they said they felt invisible. But within a couple of months, I was ringing her up asking why she hadn’t called me. Georgie said he’d completely forgotten. He sounded afraid. She said I she’d forgotten not just to call, but that I’d existed at all. I was hurt by that, naturally, but I assumed it was a natural part of them fleeing the nest. I don’t know. Now I think I was writing off things I shouldn’t have.
But. Oh. Maybe a year after Georgie disappeared. There he was or, maybe not. Both there and not there, at the kitchen table, saying she’d seen her friend. I told him the House wasn’t real; it wasn’t real!
Then she was gone.
A week later, Wednesday evening. He was back.
We had the same conversation to the word.
A week later the same. And again a week after the that. And then I snapped. I saw them sitting there and I screamed bloody murder, telling them to snap out of it, but they wouldn’t, they kept on going and going and going. Like what I said didn’t mattered. And I realised. We weren’t just having the same conversation. We were having the last conversation we had had before they disappeared.
So I did what I did then, I pulled out the photo of him on the corner and as I lay it in the table top I gasped because….
Because there was a house in the photograph
I turned from the thing that was maybe Georgie, maybe not, and ran out of the front door, practically flying, and there it was. The house on the corner. The front door was ajar, a golden light pouring around its white edges.
I stepped up the path. I saw her then, Georgie. He was sitting on the floor by a radio. They were playing a show. The host, you. You said your name was Sam Enfield. Georgie turned and looked at me, told me it was all real. I squeezed my eyes shut and—-
When I opened them again I was standing on an empty plot of land, broken only by a pile of rubble, thick with weeds.
I thought myself mad. I had poured obsessively over what Georgie had said once she disappeared, as though maybe he had been abducted, and there was something wrong, something I had to do to find him.
I knew your name was Sam Enfield, and that you were on the radio but I had no idea about anything else other than my old wild speculations about drug lords and human trafficking.
I looked up old high school records. I have found an Ekaterina and Anastasia Enfield registered at Georgie’s school a few years above him, but no Sam. I asked a friend who worked at the local hospital for a favour and she said there was a registered birth of a ‘Samael Apollo Enfield’ in November of 1998, with the father listed as ‘UNKNOWABLE’. Which makes you five years younger than my Georgie.
And then I find out this show you’re hosting, it’s about this Arcanism thing, and it connects up with everything Georgie had been saying on these message boards before they disappeared. And when I finally find your show, you were talking about her, with some girl I’ve never heard of.
I don’t know what you want with my Georgie, but I beg of you.
[SAM’S VOICE BECOMES THEIR OWN AGAIN]
[SAM SOUNDS HESITANT AND UNCERTAIN]
The letter writer didn’t sign off with a name. I’m sorry, Georgie’s parent. I wish I understood any of this, but I just. Um. I don’t. I. What with everything that’s happened recently with Beth and Mystery and… well. A bunch of forum users, actually. They are all, yeah. I don’t know. The house is… something. And it’s. I just don’t know.
What I gather from Kitty and Anna is that it used to be a real house that was really there, and then, after whatever happened the night before my 7th birthday when it collapsed, something as sometimes been there in its place, not quite a house, but also not quite not a house, an Impossible House, an artefact of the Arcane.
I know it changed when I woke up, when the forums were created, too. And… oh, no. Georgie disappeared in 2015, that’s what that caller, Emily, that’s what she said. That’s six years ago. That’s when I start to get little pieces of remembering, before everything starts to come together around when I turned eighteen.
Something. There’s something, I. It’s just out of reach. If I could just work it out then–
RECORDING MACHINE: Message received at six oh six AM six oh six AM six six six sixsixsix—–
SAM: I didn’t ask you to play, what?!
[STATIC PLAYS, SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR, BUT ALSO DISTINCT FROM OLIVER’S STATIC AND THE STATIC WE’VE HEARD IN MOST PLACES BEFORE. UNDER THE ELECTRIC FIZZ AND THE GUTTERING HISS, THERE IS SOMETHING THIN, WHINING, LIKE A WHEEZING BREATH]
[THE STATIC STOPS]
SCOURGE: [THROUGH THE RECORDING MACHINE] Hello, little bit. Straying close to the wire now, aren’t we?
SAM: It’s them. From before.
SCOURGE: [WITH DEEP SATISFACTION] It’s me.
SAM: You can hear me. But you’re a recording.
SCOURGE: Oh? I see.
[SCOURGE’S STATIC RINGS BRIEFLY, AND SCOURGE APPEARS, LANDING HEAVILY ON THE FLOOR OF THE STUDIO, VERY CLOSE TO SAM]
SCOURGE: [NO LONGER A RECORDING] I can be a little more present, if you like.
SAM: How– what—
SCOURGE: Always the wrong questions, little bit.
SAM: What do you mean, I’m close to the wire?
SCOURGE: Ooh, that’s better. Certainly a more useful question to be asking. It will all be clear in time.
SAM: You keep saying that. ‘In time’. What does that mean?
SCOURGE: It means that you will learn when it is right for you to learn. Not before.
SAM: So why come to me at all?
SCOURGE: To show you that you are not alone.
SAM: Not. Not alone, what do you mean?
SCOURGE: You. Are not. Alone.
SAM: But I already know that. I have Kitty and Anna and O–. Well. I definitely have Kitty and Anna.
SCOURGE: And so much more.
SAM: So much more… wait. Do you mean, them? Georgie and Emily and Beth and Mystery? The ones on the forums who say they are ‘mine’, somehow?
SCOURGE: In time.
SAM: Gods, Oliver, he said. Something about being forbidden. That there was a taboo he couldn’t break. There was only so much he could say. Is that what this is? Are you– are you forbidden from talking too?
SCOURGE: Silly Samael. We cannot be bound.
SAM: What does that mean? Who is ‘we’? Indifference, Ignorance and Ingratitude?
SAM: The Deadly Sins? Are you one of the Major Arcana, too?
SAM: You’re loyal to him, aren’t you? You’re with the One Who Walks Here and There.
SCOURGE: In time.
SAM: Why do you keep coming to me like this when you won’t tell me anything?
SCOURGE: Wrong question, little bit.
SAM: How will I know when it’s time?
SCOURGE: Wrong. Question. [SCOURGE’S VOICE DISAPPEARS AS THOUGH ON THE WIND]
[SCOURGE’S STATIC RINGS FOR A MOMENT, BUT ONLY VERY QUIETLY. THE THIN WHEEZE IS CLEARER.]
SAM: Well, just tell me what the right question is!
Come back, I’ll–!
I’ll what, explode a light bulb at you, maybe?
Ugh. What am I even saying. I hate this. I hate it so much. How is it I’ve learned so much but I still feel like I know absolutely nothing?
I need to get out of the house. I need some air. I.
Thank you, faithful listeners. Thank you for tuning in. I bid you a restful night.
| Content Warnings |
– Background music of varying volumes
– Static (3 brief instances, not louder than the rest of the audio)
– Background sound effects of various volumes
– Discussion of missing persons
– Discussion of grief by a parent for a child
– Mentions of a parent not believing their child’s experiences
– Implied threats
Have we missed something? Tell us here.