- Background sounds and music
- Panning effects (sounds will be different in right and left headphones)
- References to death and dying
- Implications of child neglect
- Detailed but brief description of horrible teeth
- Description of injury-adjacent physical characteristics in a magical context (bloody eye sockets)
- Description of the aftermath of a house fire (soot, ash, destroyed belongings)
- Voice altering effects; reverberation and echo effects (used sparingly)
- Sudden, fairly loud sounds (not louder than the rest of the track but still abrupt and distinct)
Insignificance is a pretty sort of delusion. Imagine, of all the people in the world, that you would be the only one that doesn’t matter? How preposterous. Narcissistic, even. You mean so much because you are. I don’t know your name and I don’t need to. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello, faithful listeners! Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio. The forums have been alive with enthusiasm and discussion this past week, and I’m incredibly grateful, as always, for the amazing outpouring of support I have received in light of everything that has happened here at the studio and in my life in general.
Whilst I’m not sure if it would be right to dive in and try a group séance again just yet, given the, um, explosive nature of what happened last time with the uh. You know. Me. Well, anyway, I’ve decided to ask friend of the show Rhytidia Delphus, the Bog Witch, as they have a better grasp on the particulars of seances and if anything—-
With my, um. Self.
If something goes awry then Rhytidia will—
RHYTIDIA: You know I have no idea what you expect me to do if you go all boiled bog water again.
SAM: Boiled– never mind. You know what you’re doing though, right? So that should make things a little better.
RHYTIDIA: I know the specifics but I don’t know how much help that’ll be in your case.
SAM: Yeah, thanks Rhytidia that’s super comforting, thanks, so um. What exactly are we going to do.
RHYTIDIA: Let’s see.
[ANGRY CAT SOUND]
RHYTIDIA: Well, usually my first point of all call would be to choose a place that has some kind of spiritual meaning to you, but as every home you’ve ever lived in has either collapsed into dust or apparently burnt to a husk, your mother never let you out and you don’t remember anything anyway… this is as close to that as we’re going to get.
RHYTIDIA: I’m just saying it like it is. You have in mind who you want to contact, don’t you?
SAM: [WITH QUIET DETERMINATION AND A HUM OF MAGIC] Yes.
RHYTIDIA: I’m not sure how I feel about that tone of voice, Samael.
SAM: Sorry. Yeah, I know what I’m trying to reach.
RHYTIDIA: Concerns me that you say ‘what’ rather than ‘who’.
SAM: What else do we need?
SAM: [WITH A TREMBLE OF MAGIC] Leave it alone, Rhytidia.
RHYTIDIA: Fine, fine. Could you not do that?
RHYTIDIA: Whatever it was that you just did.
SAM: What did I do?
RHYTIDIA: You, uh, compelled me, or something. I was going to keep pushing you but now for some reason that feels like the worst idea in the world.
SAM: Ach– sorry. It keeps happening. But please just leave it alone.
RHYTIDIA: [DISGRUNTLED WITCH SOUNDS] I suppose that’ll have to be alright, won’t it? What else can I do? Leave?
SAM: I’d really rather you didn’t.
RHYTIDIA: I can’t, not in good conscience. You’re Marie’s boy, after all. I promised I’d keep an eye on all three of you if anything ever happened to her, and I can spare an eye, I think.
SAM: Thank you.
RHYTIDIA: I will reiterate that I don’t know what you expect me to do if your power gets out of hand. I’m used to leading a séance with witches with less skill in the arcane than I have, and whilst I can’t exactly call what you can do skill, it’s certainly powerful.
SAM: Uh. Thanks?
RHYTIDIA: It’s not a compliment.
SAM: Great. So. We’re here. I know what I’m trying to reach. Now what?
RHYTIDIA: Alright. Turn out the big light–
[LIGHT SWITCH CLICK]
RHYTIDIA: – after I’ve lit the candles, Samael!
[DISGRUNTLED WITCH NOISES]
[LIGHT SWITCH CLICK]
[LIGHTER FLICKERS AND THE CANDLE WICK QUIETLY CATCHES; ‘FWOOFF’]
SAM: Now should I–
RHYTIDIA: Yes, yes turn it out.
[LIGHT SWITCH CLICK]
RHYTIDIA: Hold out your hand.
SAM: Why— ew! What’s that?
RHYTIDIA: Lemongrass oil. Smell it?
SAM: Oh, yeah, it’s nice, but it’s kinda sticky.
RHYTIDIA: Cosmopolitan cretin. Take a deep breath.
SAM: It’s cold!
RHYTIDIA: It’s a silver pendulum. Hold it by the end, out like this.
[CHAIN CLINKS BRIGHTLY]
RHYTIDIA: Good, good.
[MAGIC HUM BEGINS]
RHYTIDIA: Can you feel it?
[A MAGIC HUM RISES, GROWING STRONGER AS THEY SPEAK]
SAM: Yes. I can feel it.
RHYTIDIA: Okay. Good. Very good. Now, close your eyes.
RHYTIDIA: Excellent, and now—
[MAGIC SOUNDS SWELL, WIND WHIPS THROUGH THE ROOM]
– SAM: [WITH REVERBERATION] Arcana minor, heed my call, as Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown you are bound to hear me.
– RHYTIDIA: Samael! What are you doing!?
SAM: I call upon the thing called Scourge to come forth and hold commune. SCOURGE. I SPEAK AND YOU WILL HEAR ME, COME FORTH AND SPEAK!
[WIND WHIPS LOUDER, LOUDER, SCREAMING AND LAUGHTER CAUGHT UP IN IT. WORDS ARE CAUGHT UP IN THE WIND, BARELY DISTINGUISHABLE, LOST IN THE SOUND]
[SCOURGE’S VOICE BECOMES MORE DISTINCT]
SCOURGE: Sorry, Samael Apollo. Not quite yet.
SAM: Come back here!!
SAM: Rhytidia– what are you doing?
[WIND AND MAGIC SOUNDS FALL AWAY GRADUALLY]
SAM: No, what? We need to try again, I—
RHYTIDIA: Goodbye, Samael.
SAM: Rhytidia, just hold on–
RHYTIDIA: I am. To my bag. Goodbye.
[SAM MAKES A SOUND OF FRUSTRATION, THE MAGIC SOUND SWELLS AGAIN]
SAM: Gods damn it.
[SAM TAPS HIS FINGER ON THE DESK. THEY GROAN]
SAM: It’s fine. It’s fine.
[SOMETHING ELSE SHATTERS]
SAM: I’m fine.
[SAM TAKES A DEEP BREATH]
I know, I haven’t said what I was thinking about this whole thing before, but. I promised myself as soon as the show was live again I’d try to find out more about Scourge and I just… yeah. I’m- I’m sorry. Maybe our last séance, the one we did right before— before I ended up in the Impossible house it went pretty catastrophically but it’s the best one I ever attempted and I think it’s because it was live on air. A– and I couldn’t risk Rhytidia knowing what I was planning to do because I think she’d have said no.
That’s bad, isn’t it?
[MAGIC HUM RISES AGAIN]
But I just. I want to know. I want to understand and I just don’t and it’s eating me up. What is he? He’s not a Major Arcana, I’m pretty sure of that. He’s something else…
[MAGIC HUM EASES OFF INTO NOTHING]
Anyway. Well. Um. Oh! I know! I found an augury forecast for this week. I didn’t think I’d have time to read it, assuming foolishly as I did that Rhytidia and I would be a little more successful in the séance department. Ha. Seance department. I wonder if Madame Marie’s grandmother’s shop had a séance department?
I bet it was amazing. So many Arcanist supplies. I bet there were so many books! And they’d probably have loads of answers in them. More than these ridiculous journals or log books or whatever they are. A lot them just have lists and lists of dates and names, some of which have been crossed out. A lot of them are from way before Madame Marie was born. Some of them are from before her grandmother was born, probably, though I don’t actually know when that was.
Or what happened to her parents.
Or, well. Much about Madame Marie at all, really.
Let’s not dwell on it.
I bet Oliver would remember the shop. I should ask him! Wait. He said he needed to catch up on sleep. And I’m not going to get in the way of him taking care of himself. The whole time I’ve known him I’ve only seen him drink water twice.
SAM: Yes, I know, I’m being a little hypocritical here. But whatever.
SAM: Ugh. Stop it, don’t look at me like that, I get enough of that from Anna. Half the time my conscience has her voice. No wonder really, with the amount she rags on me about stuff.
Right, so. Augury Forecast! There was a funny smell coming from under Kitty’s sink. I decided to have a look at it even though there’s pretty much nothing I’d be able to do. Sticking out of one of the joins in the pipes was a little scrap of paper. I pulled it out, and the smell vanished immediately. It was smaller than a post-it note, and the writing on it was extremely tiny. Here’s what it said:
A murder of crows was spotted flying in circles over the A55; traffic will be horrendous this week.
The birds nest low; a storm is drawing near. It’s calmest point is at the centre. We call it an eye but it sees nothing.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but a cat on the lap is worth a fortune.
Orchids do not make you forget.
The sparrows trill in fear as Freya opens the door to scatter crumbs from their toaster; be sure to close your windows at night before you go to sleep or you risk inviting in more than a breeze.
Under the gaze of doves, lovers dream in tandem, but their dreams may not be pretty.
There are many benefits to being an Arcanist.
The swallow has turned out its nest; the 18:10 service to London Euston is expected to be busy and passengers with flexible tickets may wish to use an alternative service for a more comfortable journey.
So concludes the augury forecast!
It’s the first one I’ve found since I started staying in Kitty’s shed. I’ve scoured the place for more but nothing has turned up yet.
I thought about going into the shell of the house to search for more, but I only got as far as the kitchen.
Eggroll and Cosmo came with me, leaving little paw prints in the soot on the ground. It’s amazing, really. There was no fire. It’s rained so much you’d think everything would be sopping, but no. It’s like a dessert from a nightmare. Something gleamed and caught my eye, but when I looked closer, it was the kitchen tap, poking out of the ash.
It was so… still.
There was nothing left. The boxes of tea from the kitchen window, the old tablecloth decorated with constellations in faded gold thread. All of it, gone.
All day I can see it there, at the top of the garden, it’s windowless frames gaping down like empty eye sockets, seeing nothing.
I dreamed that it was full of plants, the other day. Ivy winding around the banister, green shoots bursting through the floorboards of my old bedroom, moss thick on the old chintz chair at the broadcasting desk, the microphone tree turned into a sapling with pale green buds at the end of each friendly, spindly branch.
But, no. For now, at least, the house is this massive dead thing, right there whenever I look out of the window.
[SAD LITTLE PAUSE]
Sorry for being so maudlin, faithful listeners. I’m really disappointed about the séance, you know.
[VERY SADLY] I was hoping to get some answers, for me and for you.
[BAD TO SAM’S USUAL, ALMOST CHIPPER TONE] Since I’ve been back on the air, the forums have been alive with speculation and theories about what happened in the Impossible House, and a lot of what many of you have been pointing out has been pretty interesting, if a little odd. It seems that the broadcast you heard on Spirit Box Radio of what happened in the house was entirely tied to my perspective of what happened, that it started at the usual time of witching hour on Thursday morning and ran for about as long as I thought we were in the house.
I know now that in real time it was a week, and it seems like of everyone I’ve managed to speak to about what happened inside the house, Oliver’s experience was as close to a week of time passing as anyone’s, and even that seemed to only last three or four days, but because he died a few times in the interim, he can’t pin it down to a specific timeframe. What he did say was that it was extremely odd, as he’d escape the Inconvenient Sins for a few moments, and they’d find him again minutes later, complaining he’d been gone for hours. That was when he noticed the clocks, apparently. They were all moving incredibly slowly, and sometimes stopped entirely.
Whenever I saw a clock it said it was three minutes past three, even when I walked into the blood soaked living room to find Madame Marie, holding a baby. Well, me, as a baby. And Scourge was there.
[A STORMY RUMBLE, WITH FAR OFF WIND AND DISTANT RAIN]
It’s funny, because nobody can agree on whether there was a sound before Scourge appeared. There was a rumbling storm, and the rain and the thunder drowned almost everything out. And then, Scourge turned to look at me. And. I don’t know. He was there, standing there, barefoot in the blood. His feet were filthy with some kind of black dirt, and the bottoms of his pale trousers were soaked in it, too, but there was not a speck on the white coat they were wearing, save for a small, red dot on the lapel.
And his teeth. His teeth. Lined in red black as he grinned an awful smile. Last time I saw them, it was so brief, so dark in the basement studio I didn’t get a chance to really look but his eyes were not really eyes, not like I know them, just two black orbs, red crusted at the corners. When they looked at me the air was like static.
[SLIGHT STATIC STUTTERS AMIDST THE STORMY HUM AND THE WIND AND THE RAIN]
I could feel it on my skin, hear it trembling in my blood. It was visceral, vivid. I could taste blood on my tongue.
And Madame Marie froze the moment he looked at me.
I don’t mean she paused. I mean she just. Stopped. The rain kept pouring, the thunder kept rolling. The house was connected to me, Oliver said, but that room, that scene, Madame Marie, Scourge, and the baby. Even though it happened in the house I can’t remember that the Impossible House was the twisted mirror of, it didn’t feel like that was mine.
I– I don’t know how to explain it. The rain was mine. The storm, that was mine. But the rest of it, it didn’t feel like it belonged to me at all. Because it was baby me she was holding, Scourge named me, right there, and everything else was exactly as Anna described; more blood than there should have been, the hammering rain.
It was something else, something different, that room. And Scourge, I’m certain, is at the heart of it somehow. And on the forums it seems like you all agree.
[THE STORM, STATIC, AND RAIN FALL AWAY ALMOST IMMEDIATELY]
SAM: Oh, crap! Rhytidia’s pendulum. It looks okay to me. I’ll give this back when…
I’ll give it back some time, anyway.
[A LIGHTER FLICKS]
[SAM’S MAGIC HUMS]
[THE CLICK OF A LIGHT SWITCH]
[SAM TAKES A DEEP BREATH]
[MAGIC HUM RISES]
SAM: Arcana minor, heed my call, as Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown you are bound to hear me. I call upon–
[WHISPERING GETS LOUDER]
[WHISTLING, ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT, DISTANTLY, ECHOING. A TICKING CLOCK]
[A OUD THUD; THE WHISTLING, THE WHISPERING, THE TICKING, EVERYTHING STOPS RIGHT AWAY]
SAM: EGGROLL! That is a LIT CANDLE. Gods, there’s wax everywhere, I– well, faithful listeners. I think that’s all we have time for this week on Spirit Box Radio. Thank you so much for tuning in. I bid you a restful night.