Click for Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Panning audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
- References to death and dying
- Discussion of ongoing loss of mental autonomy
- References to and discussion of child neglect (the actions are condemned explcitly)
- Shouting/raised voices with angry tones
- Manipulation (of a magical nature. Level of intentionality left ambiguous)
- Poor relationship communication (acknowledged but not resolved)
- Moments of mild panic/hysteria (rapid speech and heavy breathing)
Live, laugh, love, leave a good looking corpse. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello, faithful listeners! We have received an email from Kitty! Thank Bathsheba for that. I’ll read it to you now:
Read your emails, all 87. have you thought about maybe waiting a couple of days between thoughts and summarising them instead of emailing me every time something occurs to you? I’d appreciate it.
I’m in Patagonia. Know where I’m going. Strong lead on three weirdos in mountains; think it’s probably the Sins. Hope we can get something useful out of them after all this. Calling Rhytidia for help because I don’t actually know how I’m going to even begin to do anything once I actually find them. If you want me to bring them back to you, it’ll take a bit longer. I’m not sure how I’ll get them to come. All I can think is that the Impossible House held them, so whatever constructed that might be able to hold them again, though ideally I’d like to not get eaten by any buildings again. Maybe put it to your listeners, see what they suggest.
Say hey to Anna.
Kitty the Investigator indeed, right!? She’s calling Rhytidia for help. Yeah, good luck with that she’s a riot. Though who else is she supposed to call, I guess? Me?
[SAM SPLUTTERS WITH LAUGHTER]
Ah, yeah. No. Aha.
Anyway I sent her a reply and I also sent a picture of that sigil thing of the door, you know? The one I mentioned I dreamed about last week? She said she didn’t know what to make of it, but that she’ll have a think about it and get back to me if anything interesting occurs to her about it.
It sounds like things are going pretty well though, and hopefully when Kitty finds the Sins they’ll be able to explain more about the prophecy they heard and why they thought it was Madame Marie. I’ve turned over and over in my mind what I remember of what Indi said in the Impossible House, that it seemed obvious that it was Marie. They don’t seem like they’ve got very developed skills for critical analysis but like, they’re not totally daft or presumably the Man in the Flat Cap and Shell Suit would have kicked them to the kerb by now, however keen they are to stay on as his servants. I just— what is it about her, you know? What’s so compelling? There are two people I can think to ask, but neither of them are likely to give me anything. Nagisa straight up told me not to write again and Rhytidia literally hung up on me last time we spoke.
Well, three people. But I’m not asking Oliver, no chance. If he’s not told me already, it’s probably under taboo, and if it’s not? Well. Either it’s so bad he doesn’t want to explain it or… or he’s hiding things on purpose. And neither of those are possibilities I really want to entertain.
I mean, like. What was it about what she was doing which could be so bad that…
Oh no. Oh no. What if that’s it?
No, no. That can’t be it. It’s under taboo. It has to be? Yeah. Not people soup. I asked Anna, she said I didn’t even eat at all when I was unconscious, and M never came in to see me beyond standing in the doorway. Anna would have noticed her feeding me, she says. She’s sure. But Anna’s arcane gift only works to assess the truth of statements and she may just believe that to be the case enough that it’s a true statement. I don’t know. Ugh!
Well. There’s no point dwelling on it, I guess. She either fed me people soup or she didn’t. I dunno. Gods. Am I ageing? I don’t know. Do I look like I’m ageing, Cosmo?
You’re just gonna blink at me? Okay. I’m going to take that as a yes. Or is it a no?
Where’s Revel when you need him, huh? I could really do with some—
Did you hear that, Cosmo?
Oh, who am I kidding, someone could throw him out of a window and he’d just yawn and go back to sleep where he landed. Uh…
[CHAIR LEGS SCRAPE]
I think it was coming from the house.
[DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES]
[FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL; THE SOUND OF WIND IN THE TREES; DISTANT CARS]
I should have brought a torch or something.
[FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE, NOW, AND THEN THE CRUNCH OF GLASS UNDERFOOT]
[A GUST OF WIND, THINGS RATTLE, SOMETHING GROANS]
Hello? Is someone here?
[A CREAK AND A JUDDER, LIKE A SHIP IN PORT]
[THUD, THUD, THUD]
Wait– that was coming from near the studio.
[FASTER FOOTSTEPS; CRUNCHING; GLASS]
[THUD, THUD, THUD]
Oh my gods, hello? Hello?
[DESPERATE RUMMAGING, OBJECTS CLATTER AND CLANG]
[FINGER NAILS ON WOOD]
Wait, but. The trapdoor. There should be a whole room this is like it’s in the floor right in the hallway, but the trapdoor was in the studio. But.
There’s air coming out of the sides.
There, the latch.
[THE LATCH CLICKS. THE TRAPDOOR CREAKS OPEN. THE WIND HAS STOPPED.]
It’s just dirt. There’s not even a hole it’s just dirt, I—
[DIRT MOVING. PAPER RUSTLES]
Ow! That was sharp, glass, I think, I–
The petals aren’t even crushed.
[SAM GRABS AT ONE OF THE PIECES OF PAPER]
My drawings, the white door–
[PAPER CONTINUES TO BLUSTER AROUND]
[THE PAPER STOPS]
[SAM BREATHES HEAVILY. WHEN THEY MOVE, PAPER RUSTLES AND CRUNCHES]
There’s something written on the back of this one. A date, and then it says ‘he’s asleep’.
‘He’s asleep’, ‘asleep’, ‘while sleeping’, ‘asleep’, ‘asleep’, ‘asleep, on sleeping pills’.
M. She was recording when I did these. Keeping them. The ones on my walls, the ones I kept, they weren’t all of them.
‘Asleep’, ‘asleep’, ‘ah—’.
The dates on the others, they’re from before I was asleep for six years, before the old house collapsed. But this one. It’s from after, and it’s… longer. It says.
He sleeps like the dead. He was up today but when he spoke he was like a hollow thing. A dead thing. Whatever I did it seems to have broken something in them. They haven’t stopped drawing the door. Every night, hundreds of them. I have to give him paper or he draws it on the walls. Is this thing my child? Were they ever? No that is too forgiving of my part in this. If they are a monster, they’re mine, too.’
[MAGIC HUM RISES, THE PAPERS SWIRL. SAM GETS TO THEIR FEET AND RUNS THROUGH THE HOUSE, THE SOUND OF PAPER FADING. THEY STOP HALFWAY DOWN THE GRAVEL PATH]
[SAM WALKS A FEW MORE STEPS]
No, no, no.
I can’t do this! I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t.
[SAM WALKS THE REST OF THE WAY TO THE SHED AND OPENS THE DOOR, STEPPING INSIDE]
[SAM PAUSES, THEN RUSHES OVER. THEY EMBRACE; FABRIC RUSTLES]
SAM: [TEARFULLY] Why are you here, I didn’t even say anything.
OLIVER: You’re upset. What happened?
SAM: I– look. Look.
OLIVER: [SOFTLY] Sam. You know this isn’t true. You know it.
SAM: Do I? Because I don’t… I can’t feel it. I don’t feel it. What if I’m not. What if that’s what I am? A– a hollow thing?
OLIVER: You’re not. You’re alive. You’re real. I can see it shining out of you whenever I close my eyes. Okay?
SAM: [IN A VERY SMALL VOICE] Okay. [DEEP BREATH] If I could just see how all these pieces connect. If I could understand—
The Seeing Glass; you can use it to see things on the arcane spectrum, and I… when I looked through it, I saw you like I saw you in the Impossible House and it was like… I think maybe I could do that without the Seeing Glass, but it only lasted for a minute and then it was gone. Think maybe if I— can see me like that. Then maybe I…
OLIVER: If you’re asking if that’s what happens when I close my eyes and see you, then yes. I think. Broadly speaking.
SAM: How do you do it?
OLIVER: I’m afraid I don’t know. It’s an instinct, I suppose.
SAM: Can you teach me?
OLIVER: I suppose I could try.
SAM: What do I need to do?
SAM: Why not? I’m here, you’re here.
OLIVER: It can be a little intense–
SAM: Now. Please, Oliver.
OLIVER: Very well. Close your eyes.
OLIVER: Breathe deeply. Let your mind simply wander. If you have a thought, let it come, and let it go again. Lower your defences—
[THE MAGIC HUM, WHICH HAS BEEN QUIETLY RUNNING BENEATH THIS CONVERSATION, FLARES]
OLIVER: Well, relax, I suppose?
SAM: Ugh, it’s no good, I can’t do it.
OLIVER: You didn’t really try.
SAM: A minute ago you didn’t even want to teach me, why does it matter?
OLIVER: I just wanted to try under—
SAM: Just let it go, alright?
OLIVER: Of course. Sam, are you—
SAM: Am I what?
[THE MAGIC HUM FLARES AGAIN, THIS TIME NOT FADING BACK TO IT’S QUIET BACKGROUND LEVELS AND STAYING VERY NOTICEABLE]
[A LONG PAUSE]
OLIVER: Are you okay?
SAM: I just– I just need a minute.
SAM: Don’t touch me.
OLIVER: I’m sorry.
SAM: Why doesn’t anything work. Why can’t I make sense of this.
OLIVER: It’s the arcane, you can’t make it make sense, it actively defies it—
SAM: So what’s the point in Arcanism? Is it all just a waste of time like Rhytidia says? And why make me so powerful if nobody is going to teach me what to do with it?
[THE LAST FEW WORDS SAM SPEAKS REVERBERATE; THE HUM FLARES AGAIN, DIPPING OFF SLIGHTLY AND RISING AGAIN AS OLIVER SPEAKS]
OLIVER: The wise man knows what it is he does not and cannot know. It is only as we begin to learn that we notice our ignorance. When we try to define the undefinable, to describe the indescribable, we hint at those traits it is impossible to capture in language. The vast totality of the unknown.
SAM: You’re not making any sense!
OLIVER: Exactly, magpie. It can’t make sense, because that’s what it is. That’s all it is.
SAM: And me?
[SAM’S VOICE REVERBERATES, AND CONTINUES TO DO SO]
OLIVER: I don’t know.
SAM: You don’t know what?
OLIVER: [ANGRILY] I don’t know because I do not know it! And you don’t need to be taught, I don’t think this can be taught. But you can do it, I know that because you do it all the time. You’re doing it right now.
SAM: [BITTERLY] Not on purpose.
[AS OLIVER SPEAKS NEXT, SAM’S BREATHING TURNS RAGGED. THE MAGIC HUM IS PEAKING NOW; SAM’S BREATHING IS EXTREMELY REVERBERANT]
OLIVER: [EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED] It just happens. It simply happens. And you can allow it to take control or you can not. That’s all it is. I swear to you, that’s all it is—
[THUNDER PEALS; THE HUM FLARES AGAIN]
SAM: [FURIOUS] J—Just SHUT UP.
[RAIN HAMMERS OUTSIDE, RATTLING ON THE ROOF OF THE SHED. THE THUNDER RUMBLES, MORE GENTLY NOW. AMIDST THE SOUNDS OF THE STORM, A FAINT WHISPERING BEGINS TO RISE. THE WORDS ARE TOO INDISTINCT TO HEAR]
[SAM LAUGHS A SINGLE, HUMOURLESS NOTE]
[THE MAGIC HUM, THE SOUND OF THE STORM, AND THE INDECIPHERABLE WHISPERS RISE AND SWELL]
SAM: Tell me. Oliver; are you scared?
OLIVER: [AS THOUGH THIS ANSWER IS RIPPED OUT OF HIM UNWILLINGLY] Yes.
[THE WHISPERING FADES AWAY; THE MAGICAL HUM GETS A LITTLE QUIETER]
SAM: Of me?
OLIVER: For you. Mostly.
[THE MAGIC HUM FADES AWAY INTO NOTHING AS SAM SPEAKS, LEAVING ONLY THE STORM]
SAM: I don’t want to make you scared, of me, for me, or otherwise.
OLIVER: It’s alright. We’re alright.
[A SMALL PEAL OF THUNDER RUNS UNDER SAM’S VOICE AS HE SPEAKS]
SAM: Are we? The more I know, the more I understand, I– I don’t know how to feel and I don’t know what to do. She was my mother. I think she was, in her way, trying to protect me. But when the way she did it? And the way she treated Kitty and Anna, too?
OLIVER: She trapped you and hurt you. She tried to shut you down and make you small. You owe her nothing.
[THE THUNDER FADES AWAY, LEAVING ONLY THE SOUND OF THE RAIN, WHICH IS HEAVIER NOW, BUT THERE IS NO THUNDER ANYMORE] SAM: I know. She was wrong to do what she did. But she did all it out of love, didn’t she? It doesn’t make it okay and it doesn’t mean I forgive her for it, but I don’t understand how I’m supposed to be angry at her for doing what she thought was right. It wasn’t right. It hurt me. But that was all she knew.
OLIVER: You are too soft, Sam.
SAM: No, I’m not. Understanding the reasons why people do things that are upsetting, that hurt you, and being able to see it without judgement and just for what it is, that’s not weakness, it’s strength. It doesn’t mean I don’t condemn her actions. I do. I think she was a terrible mother and I think I’ll be recovering from what she did for the rest of my life. But I also appreciate why she did what she did. I know she was scared. I know she loved me. That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t even make it okay. It changes nothing about the action itself but it means I can look at it without it feeling like all of my insides have been ripped out. Does that make sense?
OLIVER: Yes. It does. But what if it was not out of love? What if she did it out of fear or rage and what you interpret as vulnerability is simply weak-mindedness?
SAM: I know what you’re doing, you know. You’re angling for a position where you can needle me into being angry with you and call me a fool for loving you. I’m not taking the bait.
OLIVER: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
SAM: Yes, you do. You think you’re reprehensible and irredeemable and so you want to prod me into agreeing so you can fuel your narcissistic self-loathing.
OLIVER: I– Excuse me, I do not—
SAM: Yes. You do. Now I’ve established you’re nowhere near as impenetrable and interesting as you think you are, can you let me wrap things up for the evening? Please?
OLIVER: I love you.
SAM: I know. Faithful Listeners, remember to keep your ears to the ground for any information about the Impossible Children or– I don’t know. Thank you for tuning in.