SBR 2.10: Not Again

Click to reveal Content Warnings

Background sounds and music
Panning effects (sounds will be different in right and left headphones)
References to death and dying
Description of an artistic rendering of a lamb being stabbed (a still image, the lamb is happy about it)
Raised voices (brief, not notably louder than the rest of the audio)
References to complicated family dynamics

Transcript

A house divided against itself cannot stand, unless it’s got really good scaffolding! Toxicity is not a synonym for complicated. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.

[INTRO MUSIC]

Hello, Faithful Listeners! I hope you’ve had a good week. The forums have certainly been alive with theories and thoughtfulness, and that’s been incredibly exciting! I’ll work through the week sort of chronologically.

I spent most of Friday at the Karpos with Oliver. He’s been trying to teach me how to arrange a bouquet, but it hasn’t been going particularly well. The flowers I favour are all funereal, he says, whatever that means. Oh well. I currently have one of my creations on the windowsill over in the kitchen corner of Kitty’s shed, and I love the way that white chrysanthemums look with pink carnations, even if Oliver says that means ‘fond grief’ and ‘remembrance’.

Uh– Bit of a tangent, sorry! but I brought the flowers back on Saturday afternoon, and that was the first chance since the segment in the early hours of Thursday that I had a chance to sit down and properly have a look at the forums, so it was the first time I saw the post from Show Caller Emily about the way the forums seem to be structured. I didn’t understand a lot of what Emily said, but thanks to a lot of helpful forum users in the comments, I was able to decrypt a lot of it. For those of you who don’t check the forums, essentially what Emily said was that none of the coding makes any sense whatsoever, and somehow, it seems to be connected to the radio itself. In some parts of the code, Emily could hear the skipping channels. That being said, it’s all connected to pretty standard HTML which makes all the usual sense.

She said, another way to look at the whole thing is through the lens of the arcane, and apparently, when you look at it that way, the whole thing is like a very complicated and multilayered tapestry, which each user representing their own thread, and each interaction they have with other users binding those threads together. In some places, the weave is incredibly thick, in others, it is held together by a few tenuous links. Emily thinks she can tell apart which threads belong to people like her who have, you know, died, and which belong to living users, because the threads belonging to living users spin off beyond her reach, and those belonging to the dead curl and twist into nothing space, anchored to nowhere, ends frayed, but somehow not completely.

This is all, of course, really interesting, but it doesn’t actually get us very far in terms of understanding how all of this stuff works. When I look through the seeing glass, I think I can see those ‘shimmering threads’ Emily was talking about in the arcane, all of them trembling with connection. I think I’ve seen those kinds of broken strands, too, but I can’t think where. It’s all very strange.

There was that moment in the Impossible House where I could just see things the way I can see them through the Seeing Glass. I’ve not been able to do that again. I don’t even know how to begin to try to, to be honest.

Things on the forums through Saturday and Sunday were very forums-focused, with everyone trying to piece together what Emily’s description could mean without getting very far with it, but then, on Monday, someone posted this… flier? I wanna say? They scanned it into their computer and posted a picture of it. It’s like an informational leaflet. At the top, there is a lamb, standing on a plate. It’s face is happy, but there’s a knife in it’s chest. There are lines coming off it, and dots. I think it’s supposed to be a magic lamb? I dunno. Beneath the lamb are the words ‘HEED THE SCARCEMONGERS’ in a sort of semi-circle.

Part of the page is torn, I can’t read all of the words, but at the top of a small paragraph is a sentence in bold that ends with the word ‘questions’. Under that, I can’t tell what it’s talking about. It mentions family, and children together, and scarcity, and, there, right at the bottom, the last thing I can see: one with the One.

It must be the One who walks here and there, it has to be.

Jean Archivist, who posted the flier, also scanned the back of it, which just had the words ‘the small door beneath the Golden Clock. By some stroke of luck, Kitty checked in on the forums on Tuesday and spotted the flier and right away said it connected up with what she’d heard about people going missing in York and these rumours about this Arcanist meeting place of some sort, especially considering the phrase ‘become one with the One’. That was when another user, Denim Archivist, chimed in, and said that there is a Golden Clock on Coney Street in York, and there IS a small door down near it, on the side of the 3 Store, but they’d always figured it was completely blocked off as it’s badly maintained; it’s even got a hefty barricade across it. However, Denim decided to go and check the door out in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and found that it was, in fact… open.

They didn’t want to get too close, so they didn’t get a good look inside, but someone had hung a small wooden ornament over the doorway. They couldn’t be sure but it looked like it was a lamb with a knife in it’s chest.

I think they’ve found the secret meeting place of this Arcanist group that Kitty was referring to. I got Oliver to read through everything and he was pretty unsettled, I think, but he has agreed that he’ll come with me to have a look at it, and we’re going to go next week, and take all of you faithful listeners with us, just on the off chance we actually get to go inside.

Oliver didn’t seem very keen on the idea of actually going in, but I figure, he’s indestructible, and the only time I have a record of anyone trying to kill me it didn’t last very long at all, so I think we’ll be fine. There’s a chance these people know something about the Man in the Flat Cap that we haven’t come across yet, and that’s an opportunity that’s just too good to—

[DOOR BURSTS OPEN]

SAM: Anna!

ANNA: I don’t know what you think you’re playing at.

SAM: I– oh— what?

ANNA: You can’t just decide to go and spy on people, Sam, it’s not decent! It’s not normal.

SAM: Anna. This morning I really liked my coffee, and I made all the furniture in the room hover about three inches off the floor until Oliver noticed and it all crashed down and three plates broke. We’re way past normal. And I’ve only got two plates left. Or, well. Kitty has. Man, she’s going to kill me when she gets back.

ANNA: At least that will stop you from going galavanting off to wherever you think it is you’re going, to do god knows what.

SAM: I’m going to York, and we’re going to talk to some of these people who have the funny fliers. That’s all.

ANNA: We?

SAM: Oliver and I.

ANNA: Right.

SAM: Gods, Anna, you’re not still weird about it because he’s a Major Arcana?

ANNA: I’m weird about it because he’s a liar and we don’t know what he’s planning or involved in. For all we know, he’s a part of this uh— c-cult thing you’re going to investigate!

SAM: He’s not, though.

ANNA: No. Based on. You know. The vibes. I would say not.

SAM: The vibes? Oh! Your thing! Bathsheba, Anna, did you just acknowledge you can tell when people are telling the truth?

ANNA: So these people with the fliers. It’s some sort of cult?

SAM: A cult? No. Arcanists don’t really do cults. What. Why are you looking at me like that– the microphone? Anna! No. Spirit Box Radio is not a cult!

ANNA: Whatever you say.

ANNA: When are you going to York?

SAM: Next week. I told you.

ANNA: Yes, but when next week?

SAM: Uh. Wednesday. We can get there by 11:30. Oliver says he knows somewhere we can go before it’s time to broadcast.

ANNA: Broadcast?

SAM: Yeah, we’ll be doing the whole thing on Spirit Box Radio.

[PAUSE]

ANNA: Is that a joke.

SAM: Um. No?

ANNA: Why on earth would you try and smuggle a microphone into a cult!?

SAM: I– well! I can’t just leave the Faithful Listeners out of it, can I?! They want to know!

ANNA: Leaving them out of it is exactly what you should do. If I was one of them, I’d thank you for it.

SAM: I mean you kind of are.

ANNA: [SCOFFS] I am not.

SAM: You listen pretty much every week.

ANNA: How did you— Well. I’m hardly faithful am I?

SAM: No, I suppose not.

[ANNA TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND RUMMAGES IN HER BAG]

ANNA: If you’re going, take this.

SAM: Thanks. What is it?

ANNA: A button mic. I use it for zoom calls, but. You can have it. You can put it under your t-shirt so nobody can see it. At least that way these people in their ‘secret cult’ aren’t going to go to pieces when you barge in with recording equipment, at least.

SAM: Oh. Thank you.

ANNA: It’s– it’s nothing. Just. Sam. Promise me you’re going to be careful?

SAM: I promise. And I’m going to be fine, Anna. I’m not some kid anymore. And I’m not as useless as everyone thought.

ANNA: I never thought you were useless, Sam.

SAM: What was it, then?

ANNA: You’re– you’re vulnerable. And you still are.

SAM: I’ll be fine. And my boyfriend is some immortal magic thing. It’ll be fine, Anna.

ANNA: I suppose he does have that going. He could probably take a lot of bullets.

SAM: Bullets!? Anna, I’m going to York not the Wild West.

ANNA: I know, I know, I just.

[A RUSTLE OF FABRIC]

SAM: A hug!

ANNA: [CLEARS THROAT] Yes, well. Take care of yourself, alright? I need to get home. Guy and I are looking at another wedding venue tomorrow and I. Well. I thought Kitty was going to be there, but I suppose not.

SAM: Oh, Anna. I’m sorry.

ANNA: No, no, it’s fine.

SAM: I could come, if you want? I’d probably make a lousy bridesmaid, even though everyone is pretty desperate to get me in a flower crown.

ANNA: You’d really come?

SAM: Yeah. I don’t get it, but it’s important to you, right?

ANNA: It is.

SAM: Does he make you happy, Anna?

ANNA: Yes? [SHE SIGHS] I don’t know.

SAM: Anna, what? You’re marrying the guy in six months, and you’re not sure if he makes you happy!?

ANNA: I know, I know. I just. He’s lovely, you know? But.

SAM: But?

ANNA: Well. The other day I happened to mention that I find it frustrating that he never does anything spontaneous, and when I got in from work this evening, he announced that he’d booked for us to go bungee jumping this weekend.

SAM: [LAUGHING] I– what!? Bungee jumping?!

ANNA: But he’s never mentioned anything about bungee jumping or any extreme sports before and.

SAM: He was lying?

ANNA: Well. Don’t you think it’s a little odd?

SAM: That’s he’s apparently a secret adrenaline junkie?

ANNA: But, is he? Because whenever I’ve asked before he’s always said he likes things quiet. And he wasn’t lying then, either.

SAM: Ah. That’s why you’re here, right? You magic mojo’s sent you on a spin and you can’t put your finger on why.

ANNA: Sam.

SAM: No, it’s fine. I. Do you want me to come tomorrow?

ANNA: [BEAT OF SILENCE] Yes.

SAM: You don’t. You hesitated.

ANNA: Oh, Sam, I just–

SAM: I get it, I get it, it’s fine.

ANNA: I don’t know how to explain the– the new scars and. Your hair and. I’m sorry.

SAM: It’s fine. I– wait. Do you even want me to come to the wedding?

ANNA: Of course I do! I just. I will find a way to explain this to Guy, I will, but. I don’t know where to start and. The first viewing is at nine in the morning, and that doesn’t leave me a lot of lead time.

SAM: No. Hey, why don’t you just tell him I got struck by lightning?

ANNA: I want to tell him the truth. I mean, obviously, I have to, before I marry him.

SAM: You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do.

ANNA: I’m not ashamed of you. Of our family. Of who we are. It’s just hard.

SAM: I know. It’s fine. I said it was fine, didn’t I?

ANNA: Yeah. But it’s not true.

SAM: Maybe not forever. But for now? Yeah. It totally is.

ANNA: I– thank you.

SAM: Just. Find a way I can be at your wedding without needing to wear make up over these scars that’ll rub off on the chiffon, won’t you?

ANNA: I will. I’m worried about you.

SAM: What’s new?

ANNA: Please just, be careful, won’t you?

SAM: ‘Course. Now, go. You need to go placate your darling fiancee.

[ANNA HITS HIM WITH A NEWSPAPER]

SAM: Go on!

ANNA: Goodnight, Sammy!

SAM: ‘Night.

[SAM SIGHS]

Well, on that note, I suppose it’s probably best for me to wrap things up for this evening. If anyone else has seen any of these ‘Scarcemonger’ fliers, do let us know on the forums. The more information we can get about this place before we go, the better, I figure. Good night, faithful listeners. I will speak to you next week, from York.

[END]