Click for Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Panning audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
- Alcohol consumption (light, sounds of bottle unscrewing and liquid being poured)
- Discussions of death and dying
- References to child neglect
- Implied threats of violence
[KNOCK ON THE DOOR]
ANNA: Kitty? It’s Anna.
[KITTY OPENS THE DOOR; THE RAIN GETS LOUDER]
ANNA: Any change?
KITTY: Nothing. What’s with the box? Are those earpieces.
ANNA: In case it helps.
KITTY: There’s at least a hundred in here, Anna.
ANNA: It might help.
KITTY: Jesus wept. Welcome back to bloody Spirit Box Radio, I guess.
KITTY: Do you want something to eat, Anna? I made Oliver get bread and cheese. Man cannot live on biscuits alone, whatever he says.
ANNA: No, thank you.
KITTY: What are you doing here, anyway? It’s the middle of the night.
ANNA: I know.
OLIVER: It’s witching hour, Thursday morning.
KITTY: Oh. Of course.
ANNA: I thought maybe… because it’s time for the show. I thought maybe something would be different.
OLIVER: Not that we’ve noticed. He’s still sleeping.
ANNA: Yes, I can see. Oh– what is that!?
ANNA: That huge black thing, it’s— it’s moving!
KITTY: It’s Revel.
ANNA: But– But Revel is a cat. That thing is huge.
KITTY: [SARCASTICALLY] Oh really, I hadn’t noticed.
OLIVER: He has gotten rather, ah, large.
ANNA: Is it Sam? Did he do this?
KITTY: It wasn’t father Christmas.
KITTY: Well, wrong time of year, for starters.
ANNA: Oh you’re no help! Has there really been nothing? No change at all?
KITTY: Aside from the massive cat, nothing.
ANNA: Oh, what if it’s years again, Kitty? What if when he wakes up, he doesn’t remember?
OLIVER: I don’t think that will happen.
ANNA: And what do you know about it, hmm?
[ANNA TAKES A DEFIANT STEP FORWARD, HER HEELS CLICKING ON THE FLOOR]
ANNA: I’m grateful for what you’re doing for my brother, Oliver, and for what you did for all of us when Kitty… But I don’t trust you.
OLIVER: [WITH EARNEST SADNESS] That’s very wise.
KITTY: You can trust me, Anna. Oliver’s fine. Honestly.
ANNA: Ugh. What I don’t understand is how it’s true that I shouldn’t trust him, but also true that you think it’s fine. I don’t like any of this. Not one bit.
[ANNA BACKS OFF, AND SIGHS]
ANNA: I should go home. I’ve got a case at the moment, it’s driving me up the wall. Keep an eye on them, won’t you?
KITTY: He’s in good hands–
ANNA: And keep the other one on Oliver, if you can.
OLIVER: It’s fine, Kitty.
KITTY: Alright, fine, I’ll babysit him, too. Now get out and go to bed.
[ANNA GOES TO THE DOOR AND OPENS IT, THE RAIN LOUDER THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR]
ANNA: [QUIETLY] Goodnight, Kitty.
[THE DOOR CLOSES AND THE RAIN IS QUIETER AGAIN]
[KITTY WALKS TOWARDS OLIVER AS SHE SPEAKS]
KITTY: You’ve got to stop with all the ‘don’t trust me’ stuff. It’s not helping.
OLIVER: It’s true, though.
KITTY: Yeah, but you need to stop saying it so much. Anna’s got a short fuse and a long memory. She’s not going to forget the hundred times you’ve said it before and every time you keep pointing it out, it just winds her up. I know you’ve got ‘stuff’ going on, but it’s not important right now. What’s important is Sam, and we can trust you to look after them.
OLIVER: Can we?
KITTY: Would you ever hurt him?
OLIVER: Not purposefully.
KITTY: There you go, then. Focus on the matter at hand and brood later.
[OLIVER LAUGHS THINLY]
OLIVER: That sounds like something Sam would say.
KITTY: Good to know they’ve got some sense, at least.
OLIVER: You’re really not worried about me, are you?
KITTY: No. I’m not. Specially not now.
OLIVER: Not since he–?
KITTY: Since he brought me back, yeah.
OLIVER: You know, Kitty. You can talk to me about it, if you like.
KITTY: Yeah, you know how ridiculous that sounds after you grilling my sister into not trusting you, right?
OLIVER: You can trust me to keep a secret. That’s part of the issue, really.
[KITTY WALKS AS SHE SPEAKS]
KITTY: I have no idea how Sam puts up with you. You’re infuriating.
OLIVER: He reminds me of this regularly. I find it very grounding.
KITTY: Incredible. My brother, head in the clouds, somehow found the one person on the planet that makes him seem down to earth.
OLIVER: I personally find them rather… viscerally present.
KITTY: Okay, we’re straying close to off limits territory here.
[KITTY PULLS UP A CHAIR AND SITS DOWN]
KITTY: So. Sam says you’ve died a bunch of times.
OLIVER: And you’ve died once.
KITTY: Yep, and I would not rate the experience very highly. Minus four out of five, would not recommend. [PAUSE] So, what’s your funniest one?
OLIVER: I beg your pardon?
KITTY: Your funniest death. That many of them, there has to be at least a couple of really stupid ones there.
OLIVER: I suppose. [PAUSE] I can think of one, actually. I was not long in this life, I hadn’t yet… the real weight of it was yet to fully settle on me—
KITTY: You weren’t a miserable bastard yet, you mean?
OLIVER: Precisely. Yes.
[KITTY STANDS UP, CHAIR LEGS SCRAPING, AND WALKS AWAY]
OLIVER: Where are you going?
[GLASSES CLINK FAINTLY]
KITTY: I feel like this is a conversation that is going to require whiskey.
OLIVER: Well said.
[KITTY WALKS BACK, UNSCREWING A BOTTLE, POURING A DRINK AS SHE SPEAKS]
KITTY: You know, when I met you, I thought you were really cool?
OLIVER: Is that so?
KITTY: I was only five or six, I think. It was before Sam.
[AS THE CONVERSATION GOES ON, KITTY SLIDES HER GLASS BACK AND FORTH ACROSS THE TABLE]
OLIVER: That explains it. I find a couple of conversations with people is enough to cure them of any notion that I’m ‘cool’.
KITTY: Yeah, well. It was the tattoos. I always wanted tattoos.
OLIVER: Even that young?
KITTY: Oh, yeah. There was this witch we used to go to for supplies, you know, herbs and that sort of stuff. She was covered in them. There was something about her. I don’t know. I was really, really tiny, but I think I looked at her and I sort of knew, somehow, that me and her were a little bit the same. Looking back it’s definitely a baby lesbian moment. Anyway, I saw you and I thought, ‘now, there is a cool guy’, and I think I could sense the vibes, if you know what I mean.
OLIVER: Clocked by my tattoos. Interesting. It’s usually—
KITTY: Your foppish demeanour? No, that was pretty lost on me. I just thought the flowers and thorns were pretty cool.
OLIVER: I think I remember that day. Anna was always a loquacious child, but you were quiet, staring as you stood about half a foot in front of your mother, arms raised a little, like an angry kitten. I thought your name was appropriate.
[THEY CLINK GLASSES]
KITTY: Yeah, yeah.
OLIVER: About half an hour later you picked up one of the heaviest pots in my shop and I nearly laughed out loud. Marie had always told me her children were… unexceptional. Anna’s gift is subtler, but with a trained eye I could see it. But you were arcanely gifted in ways impossible for her to miss.
KITTY: Yeah, well. It was him she wanted.
OLIVER: Yes. Although, I think, not quite.
KITTY: I’d kill her. If she wasn’t dead already.
OLIVER: You misunderstand me. Marie was under the notion that Sam, whatever he was, he’d be in a position to supplant the One Who Walks Here and There. Somewhere along the way I think she forgot what she’d get was a child. All that time she was imagining a saviour.
KITTY: I still don’t really know what that means.
OLIVER: You know, the really troubling thing is that neither do I, Kitty.
[KITTY LIFTS HER DRINK AND SETS IT DOWN ON THE TABLE]
KITTY: So, go on then. Funniest death.
OLIVER: Oh, well. Let me think.
[OLIVER SLIDES HIS GLASS, LIFTS IT, PLACES IT DOWN]
OLIVER: Ah, yes. See here on my arm?
KITTY: Is that the letter ‘P’?
OLIVER: Courtesy of the East India Trading Company. I had the unfortunate pleasure of making their acquaintance in some company they deemed altogether unsavoury.
KITTY: You were a pirate?
OLIVER: I was along for the ride. I had been for some time, of course, by that point. And yes I suppose I did help plunder a few ships, here and there. Helped keep my Spanish on form, at least.
KITTY: Didn’t they usually hang pirates? That’s not very funny.
OLIVER: Hang them or shoot them on sight, yes. But you asked for funny deaths, and as you say, hanging is hardly a riot. I was apprehended and taken into custody, put on trial in front of an audience who brought an abundance of old fruit and small rocks to throw to let the judge know how highly they held me in their esteem. Completely ruined my coat. It’s a shame, it was rather beautiful. I’d hung onto it since France. The lining was a little shot, but I’m sure with a little tailoring it would have managed another century or two. Not after that trial, though. There’d have been no getting the stains out, not from fine weave like that.
Anyway, they marched me off to the cells to await my turn to try on their pretty necklace of rope, despite my insistence it would have clashed horribly with my outfit. Just incase I slipped free of their charge, they branded my arm where you see it now, and left me to wait. Of course, the thing got horrifically infected and I died of sepsis just three days later, before they had chance to string me up.
KITTY: [DISBELIEVING] No!
OLIVER: Alas, yes. I woke up in a very cheaply made coffin about to be buried in a mass grave a few hours later.
KITTY: Does it get easier?
OLIVER: No. Not really. Each one is its own debacle, and both a relief and awful in its own way. But in honesty, for every stab in the gut and jolt of electricity, it’s the clawing back that’s the worst of it. Kitty, when Sam brought you back —
KITTY: Why hasn’t Sam taken your deal? He took Indi. And Ingra and Bliss, by proxy, because they go where she goes. But she’s his Major Arcana now, not the Man in the Flat Cap’s.
OLIVER: And you’re wondering why I’ve not done the same?
KITTY: I mean, yeah. You’re the servant of the enemy, even if you’re a shitty one.
OLIVER: I think the transfer of loyalty and power has to be a mutual one.
KITTY: Like, the Man in the Flat Cap has to agree?
OLIVER: That’s not what I mean. Sam, somehow… I think he defaults. Any of the Major Arcana who want to turn on the Blood Rose King could, if he allowed it.
KITTY: So… Sam won’t take you.
OLIVER: I think that’s the centrality of it, yes.
KITTY: Why? He’s all over you.
OLIVER: That’s why.
KITTY: Yeah, that makes literally no sense.
OLIVER: You can’t see how that may be a complicating factor? My partner being in control of the literal sustenance of my arcane existence?
KITTY: So it’s about maintaining a healthy relationship dynamic? Oliver, you’re working for his dad, the CEO of Evil or whatever he is. I mean, like. That’s complicated, too.
OLIVER: Yes. But as long as Sam doesn’t accept me as one of his Major Arcana, the One Who Walks Here and There is the one in control of my deal.
KITTY: Your deal?
OLIVER: Yes. The arcane contract binding me into existence.
KITTY: Okay I still don’t see how him taking you as one of his own would make things any more complicated than they already are.
OLIVER: [FRUITILY] Kitty, darling. What was it you described me as earlier? A miserable bastard?
KITTY: What about it?
OLIVER: I’ve outlasted my welcome on this plane of existence, Kitty. Sam could never accept responsibility for that.
KITTY: Because…? Oh. Because you want to die. And he’s good. So he’d let you.
KITTY: I mean, or maybe he wouldn’t? Because by not letting you become one of his, he’s already kind of not letting you go.
OLIVER: Yes. But it’s different this way.
KITTY: Only as a technicality.
[A DISTANT, LOW HUM BECOMES BRIEFLY NOTICEABLE OVER THE RAIN. HAS IT BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME? HAS IT JUST STARTED? IT’S NOT CLEAR. IT DOES NOT FADE ENTIRELY]
OLIVER: We live and die on technicalities, Kitty.
KITTY: We sure do.
OLIVER: It’s easier for him, this way.
KITTY: But it hurts you.
OLIVER: Not a day passes that I’m not afraid I will be called. I have to answer, Kitty. I can’t refuse the Blood Rose King. He has a lien on my soul. Whatever he asks of me I’m compelled to commit, I literally cannot refuse.
KITTY: And Sam’s power is… what, precedent?
OLIVER: I don’t know about that. I have felt for some time that if Sam were to agree I could do as Indi, Ingra and Bliss have, and transfer my deal to him, as Heir Apparent. In fact I’m fairly certain that’s what I’m supposed to do. That it’s part of the plan.
KITTY: Whose plan?
OLIVER: The One’s.
KITTY: The Flat Cap Guy?
[THE HUMMING BECOMES YET MORE NOTICEABLE]
OLIVER: Yes. It’s why I’ve not been particularly eager to press the matter. I can’t help myself entirely. I’m essentially a fairly selfish creature and I can’t stop myself from trying to avoid suffering where I can.
KITTY: Isn’t that just what everyone does, sometimes? I don’t think it’s a special failing all of your very own, Unrelenting. [PAUSE] What? You don’t like it when I call you that?
OLIVER: I’d prefer it if you didn’t, Investigator. [PAUSE] Unpleasant, isn’t it?
[THE HUM IS EVEN MORE NOTICEABLE]
KITTY: [LONG PAUSE] Your name. Where’d it come from? Indi, Bliss, Ingra– that I understand. They do what they say on the tin. But what is ‘Unrelenting’? It’s an adjective. Everyone else seems to get, oh, nouns and verbs.
OLIVER: [TEASING] Arcane, isn’t it?
KITTY: [DEADPAN] So you don’t know?
OLIVER: [DEFEATED SIGH] No.
KITTY: You’ve got a theory though? I mean, you must have. There has to be a process. These names can’t just be assigned randomly.
OLIVER: No, though that would be perfectly arcane, wouldn’t it? But, no, you’re right. The One is arcane but he has a penchant for narrative.
KITTY: So, at a guess?
OLIVER: Unrelenting grief.
KITTY: So. You’re the embodiment of mourning?
OLIVER: No. Grief. Mourning is a process. Grief. It’s…
KITTY: A state of mind?
KITTY: Then why not just—
OLIVER: Call me Grief and be done with it? Who’s to say. But it’s only a theory.
KITTY: Who are you grieving?
OLIVER: Someone from a very long time ago.
KITTY: [RELUCTANTLY] Do you want to talk about it?
OLIVER: Not even slightly.
KITTY: [EAGERLY] More whiskey?
OLIVER: Wiser words were never spoken.
KITTY: Oh. Did you turn on the microphone?
KITTY: Well. It’s on.
OLIVER: I’m surprised Sam let us miss as many weeks as we already have, honestly.
[THE HUM FLARES UP AGAIN, BRIGHT, UNIGNORABLE]
KITTY: What do you mean? He can’t have turned on the microphone, he’s practically comatose.
OLIVER: I think it just sort of happens.
[THE HUM INCREASES IN INTENSITY RAPIDLY]
[SAM MAKES A SOUND]
KITTY: Was that…?
SAM: [BLEARILY] What? Where….?
[THE HUM FADES A LITTLE]
[CHAIR LEGS SCRAPE]
KITTY: You go. I’ll go outside and call Anna.
[KITTY GETS UP, CROSSES THE ROOM, OPENING THE DOOR AND LETTING IT SHUT BEHIND HER AS OLIVER SPEAKS]
OLIVER: Good. Okay. Oh, microphone, I should take this, probably, I, are we broadcasting? Is that what’s happening?
SAM: Mmm. Oliver? What time is it?
OLIVER: Gone three.
SAM: Mmm, guess I missed it then.
SAM: The broadcast.
OLIVER: No, it’s airing now.
SAM: [YAWNING] Oh.
OLIVER: [DISBELIEVING] You’re tired.
SAM: Mmmf. Yeah.
OLIVER: Do you need anything?
SAM: Just come here. I’m cold. I want to go home.
OLIVER: I– I’m sorry. Kitty’s shed isn’t exactly in a liveable state right now.
SAM: No, I mean, to Dyserth. Banemouth Road. Mm.
OLIVER: There’s nothing there, magpie. The house is gone, and so is the arcane echo of it you were making.
SAM: I suppose you’re right. Well. Come to bed. You smell like whiskey. I’m tired. Goodnight.