SBR 2.25: Ephemera

Click for Content Warnings

Background sounds and music
Stereo audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
Mentions of death and murder
Discussions of cannibalism
Implications of emotional manipulation typical within High Control Groups (cults)


Jay: That’s it? It’s all set up?

SAM: Yeah, that’s it! Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio!


SAM: Hello, Faithful Listeners. As you’ve probably already realised, I’m not at the Hatfield Karpos today. I’m actually here with a guest!

Jay: So, what? Do I introduce myself or whatever?

SAM: If you like.


Jay: My name is Jay Magnum, they them. I’m an investigator.



SAM: Indi. Could you just. I don’t know. Refrain from commenting?

INDI: If you like, I suppose.

SAM: Thank you. Sorry, Jay. You’re an investigator? And who are these people?

Jay: These are my associates, Micah, Mickey and Mikayla.

SAM: Do they… speak?

Jay: They do. But they’re just here to make sure that I. Um.

SAM: What?


INDI: They’re scared of you, Sparky.

SAM: I won’t hurt you. I promise.

INDI: I might.

SAM: You won’t.

INDI: Not even if I ask really nicely?

SAM: No. But I might give you a nice gold star on your chart if you’re polite to the nice people and stop interrupting.

INDI: You never let me have any fun.

SAM: I brought you here, didn’t I?

INDI: Only because there’s trouble in paradise. [IN A STAGE WHISPER] His boyfriend is sleeping on the couch.

SAM: He is not! And it’s. It’s none of anybody’s business. He doesn’t have a couch. We just have a bed, and a chaise lounge in the study. We’re fine. Oliver and I are just fine.

INDI: [GROAN] Of course. That totally figures.

SAM: Do you care?


SAM: Seems like you care.

INDI: I don’t care. I’m Indifference.

SAM: Right then, Indifference. Shut up and let the grown ups talk, please.

INDI: As you wish.

SAM: You know what, will you just go and stand outside!?

INDI: Alright, fine. You sure you’ll be safe?

SAM: None of them are very powerful, can’t you feel that?

INDI: Yeah. And you can too? Wonders never cease.

SAM: Just go and stand outside, thank you.

INDI: Bloody monarchal wankers, the lot of you.

SAM: Ehem. Sorry, Jay. Please go on. You were saying you’re investigators.


SAM: You said we need to talk.

Jay: There’s something I need to show you.


SAM: What’s that?

Jay: Your file.

SAM: My what now?

Jay: Your file. Everything we know about you, from rumours online to stuff we’ve gathered from your show, to what we’ve heard from other people about the prophecies.

SAM: You know about the prophecies?

Jay: Some of them, yes. But not all one thousand two hundred and eighty nine of them.

SAM: Some of them were duplicates.

Jay: Yes! And we looked through the list you put on the forums, here.


SAM: What are these sums about?

Jay: Adding up the duplicates on each page of the print out. And look, look! There are eight of these, four of this one, three of that one, twelve of that one, and well, you can see! Squared away there are one hundred and fifty five unique prophecies, and five hundred and one with multiple instances.

SAM: Is this what you wanted to show me?

Jay: Uh, no, not exactly, it’s, uh. Here.


Jay: It’s here. [Jay CLEARS THEIR THROAT]

SAM: Um, ‘Relevant subjects: Scarcity, Scarce Mongers, Samael Apollo Enfield and ‘the Illustrious Madame Marie’ Enfield. [MUTTERING] ‘Become one with the One/the end will come’, interpretations vary. RE: Scarcemongers they intend to consume the flesh of the Heir Apparent and this will bring about the end of the world.’ Jay, what is this?

Jay: So, basically, I collated all of the information from available data about you, and about the Scarce Mongers, and I worked out what it is they’re trying to do, and I wasn’t sure where to put this because it’s not really a prophecy, it’s more like, I don’t know—

SAM: Bullshit little rambling masquerading as prophecy?

JAY: Maybe? But I’m not sure.

SAM: I’ve seen the first part before, ‘one with the One’, but what about the second part?

JAY: It’s another interpretation, I guess? Nobody seems to know what the whole prophecy is, or if they do, they’re not sharing. But basically, there’s dispute as to whether the second part exists at all, and for the people who think it does exist, they seem to think it’s about the end of the world. The Scarcemongers are amongst the people who think it’s a part of the prophecy, and that’s how they’re running with it.

SAM: It’s… hm. Indi, Bliss and Ingra were trying to avoid the Heir Apparent taking over from the Man in the Flat Cap when they killed Madame Marie. They thought it would mean all their deals would be up, which isn’t the end of the world, exactly, but… Indi! Come back here.


INDI: Make your mind up.

SAM: Look at this.

INDI: Prophetising the end times? Yeah, you have to be really careful with that stuff. Really read the small print. These things are pretty hard to parse out.

SAM: You, Bliss, and Ingra killed Madame Marie because you thought she was the Heir Apparent, right?

INDI: Yes. Don’t rub it in.

SAM: Rub it in!? That was my actual mother you murdered, you know!?

INDI: Oof, sorry, sorry. Didn’t realise it was still a touchy subject.

SAM: You didn’t realise the wholesale slaughter of my-? You know what. Never mind. Tell me about the prophecy you heard.

INDI: Um, well. Let me think. I didn’t hear the prophecy itself, no. I heard it later, when she was telling your whiny boyfriend about it.

SAM: But– she told Oliver? — my mother?!

INDI: Yeah, only she left out some crucial parts when she was filling your boo in with the details.

SAM: What? Explain, please.

INDI: It was before you were born. After Madame Marie had made her deal. She went to the Unrelenting. She’d known him all her life, you know. He was their gardener, at that stupid shop. I don’t know how he stood it for as long as he did, but then he’d grown tired of taking souls for the One by then, so I suppose it was easier to keep him out of the way.

I never understood why the One didn’t just end him when it was clear he was no longer useful. I, personally, have never liked him. We worked together, in the beginning. The One liked my work but I’ll admit it was difficult to get me to do it. He thought a bit of company might inspire me into better results. He is by far the most annoying person I’ve ever had the displeasure of spending a decade with. At least Bliss and Ingra could occupy themselves and leave me in peace from time to time. He was like a very angry puppy, always yapping and yowling and complaining. After I’d dismembered him to make him come back slower one too many times, the One split us up.

I’m not sure what he did then. It was a few years before he fizzled out. I’ll say one thing for Oliver Boleyn; he could decimate a battlefield in twenty minutes flat. Now all he does is… nuzzle.

SAM: Indi. The prophecy.

INDI: Oh, yes. Sorry. But being able to reminisce like this… It’s pretty new for me. Or old, I guess.


INDI: Ah, yeah. Right. So I’d been sent to check in because Madame Marie had gone to the Unrelenting’s little flower shop or whatever it is and I overheard it. He wouldn’t let her finish talking. She said she’d heard it right before she made her deal with the One, and for some reason that made him write off the whole thing as a dud, and he wouldn’t let her continue about it. Then she just started talking about this baby she was going to have, apparently, that she’d been foretold she would have by that dirty mud witch you spend so much time with.

SAM: Rhytidia?! What?

INDI: Yeah. It was… autumn, 1988, I wanna say? Didn’t matter so much to me then, so I can’t say for sure, but apparently at the solstice the bog witch went all weird, said the mud was singing her a song or something about a magic baby.

SAM: She never told me that she was the one who heard the prophecy.

INDI: Yeah.

JAY: Yeah, it’s got unclear origins written down here. It seems like she didn’t tell anyone it was her that made a prophecy.

INDI: But Marie did. She told Oliver.

SAM: Then what happened?

INDI: Well, I’ve always thought the Unrelenting was an idiot, to be honest, so I put more stock in what Madame Marie said than he did. One with the One. But it wasn’t until much later, when I felt something shift in the arcane. And I thought, wow. It’s happening. She’s becoming One with the One. And we’ve all known for a long time that the One wants to ascend.

SAM: But what does that mean?

INDI: I don’t know, exactly. But the idea is he’ll need someone to take his place when he goes, and all these things overlapping, if she heard right before she made her deal with the One Who Walks Here and There something about being One with the One, it makes sense it’d be her, doesn’t it? Only, we were wrong, weren’t we, Heir Apparent?

SAM: We talked about this. You don’t need to call me that.

INDI: I know. I just like the drama. Honestly, though, I didn’t think on it much at the time. I don’t, typically. Though that’s becoming less true by the day. I didn’t agree to that, by the way.

SAM: I’ll interpret the terms of your contract however I like now I’m the one holding it.

INDI: As you wish, my lord.

SAM: DO NOT. Call me that.

INDI: Alright, sorry.

Jay: Um. What’s going on?

SAM: Oh, Bathsheba, Jay, I’m sorry. I. It’s a lot to fill you in on, so I probably just… you know. Won’t. But what you need to know is that this is good work. Thank you.

Jay: Why are you thanking me!?

SAM: For showing me this?

Jay: No, no, don’t you understand!? The interpretation of this prophecy that the Scarce Mongers are running with is that they need to consume the flesh of the Heir Apparent in order to become One with the One. That’s what the Redistribution is! Don’t you get it? They’re going to eat you!

SAM: No, they aren’t.

INDI: You’re very confident about that all of a sudden.

SAM: When we spoke to B he said that I wasn’t the Heir Apparent, only an Heir Apparent.

INDI: That’s not how Heir Apparents work.

Jay: No, they’re apparent because they’re picked, definitively there cannot be more than one. There can be others in line for the crown, but there is only one Heir Apparent.

SAM: I don’t think they care much about dictionary definitions. What they believe is there is more than one. Whether they’re right about that, it doesn’t really matter.

Jay: They’re going to eat someone else?

SAM: No, they’re not going to do that, either.

Jay: What?

SAM: I’m going to stop them.

INDI: Why? It won’t end the world if whoever they eat is not the Heir Apparent.

SAM: So!? They’re still going to eat her! I would very much prefer an outcome where nobody gets eaten and the world doesn’t end, thank you very much.

INDI: Ah, right. Figures.

Jay: There’s more I want to show you.

SAM: Show me.


Jay: This is a pentacle or pentagram that was found drawn in the dirt near where your house used to be in Dyserth in Wales.

SAM: Banemouth Road?

Jay: Yeah.

SAM: It’s just a pentagram. It’s practically the signifier of the general occult. This doesn’t mean anything.

Jay: You see that dark stain at the centre.

SAM: It’s blood. Someone was trying to ask for something.

Jay: Or bargain with something.

SAM: Bargain?

Jay: You know. Make a deal.


SAM: You think this is how you call the Man in the Flat Cap?

Jay: Isn’t it?

SAM: How do you seek without searching?

Jay: Well, it’s not searching, it’s demanding.

SAM: The Man in the Flat Cap doesn’t answer demands. And you don’t bargain with him, either. He offers a deal and you take it or you don’t. That’s it.

Jay: That’s not true.

SAM: I’m sorry?

Jay: Well, just. Uh…


Jay: You see, here? This news paper report. ‘Mysterious Deaths of Young Enfield Couple Baffle Police’.

SAM: That woman. She looks like Madame Marie.

Jay: It’s her mother. And there’s also, here, that little baby with the Old Woman? That’s Madame Marie.

SAM: The headline is ‘Miracle Baby’.

Jay: The mother was pregnant when she died. It’s a wonder Madame Marie survived it. From what I could tell, police suspected foul play, but there were no marks on either of their bodies, no signs they’d been poisoned, nothing. In the autopsy the corner concluded that their hearts had simply stopped beating. Not that they’d had heart attacks. That they had just stopped.

SAM: Sounds pretty arcane to me.

Jay: I think they made a deal.

SAM: With the Man in the Flat Cap?

Jay: Yes. And I think Madame Marie was the gift.

SAM: And their lives were the price.

Jay: Yeah, so, umm.


Jay: Here, there are records of stuff like this happening a few times. People just stopping like that. Sometimes there was a baby. Sometimes there wasn’t. But whenever there was a child, records of them dry up when they reach their early teens. They don’t have death certificates, they have no traceable history of work or connections or even schooling, they just vanish, like they’re being hidden, all of a sudden.

SAM: Impossible children?

Jay: That’s my theory, yes.

SAM: And Madame Marie?

Jay: Well. Maybe she was an Impossible Child.

SAM: That’s not how it works. They don’t grow or age. Not unless–

Jay: Unless they consume people. I know. But are you absolutely certain that didn’t happen to Madame Marie?

SAM: Well. No.

Jay: You said on your show they were researching the Impossible Children. Maybe this is why. Madame Marie was one of them.

INDI: Nope.

Jay: I’m sorry, who are you again?

SAM: Indifference. Allegedly. Come on, spit it out.

INDI: She wasn’t an Impossible Child. I told you, I checked in on the Unrelenting a few times when he was watching her. She spoke no Latin. She couldn’t practice the Arcane. In fact, she’s the only person I’ve ever seen who had no flow of the Arcane through her. Of course it was there in her skin and her bones and her mind, but most people, they’re tethered to the world around them by the Arcane. Not Madame Marie, though. It’s probably why she couldn’t practice magic.

SAM: That doesn’t sound like something that could be a coincidence. Have you seen other people like that?

INDI: Never.

SAM: That’s why Oliver was watching her. She was important because of that.

INDI: Probably, yeah.

SAM: Why didn’t he say something?

INDI: Taboo. He can’t.

SAM: Shit. Oh, gods. I’m a fool. This is why they let me come here without argument. They wanted me to know I could have known this all already if I’d taken Oliver as an Arcana.

Jay: Sorry, who let you come?

SAM: The Man in the Flat Cap, and Scourge, but. I think Scourge is working for him somehow.

Jay: Look, I do have to ask, why do you call him that?

SAM: Scourge?

Jay: No, the Man in the Flat Cap.

SAM: It’s what he looks like. Every letter, every mention of him, every time I’ve seen vague memories in the crystal ball, that’s what he’s been wearing.

Jay: Oh. I see.

SAM: Why do you ask?

Jay: It’s just. Well. There are a few other accounts of him and you’d think they’d mention it. Especially because he’s been around for so many hundreds of years, possibly thousands, but it only comes up three times, I think, and you’ve already heard them.

SAM: You have other accounts of people who’ve seen him?

Jay: Yes.

SAM: Show me.

Jay: S- sure. Um, hang on a minute.


SAM: Hey. Micah, was it? You having a good day, or…? No? Well. Huh.


Jay: Here, he’s described wearing a cloak.


Jay: Here, he’s dressed as a sailor; that one happened on a boat. Here, he’s in running shorts, here in a jerkin, here in robes, here a tunic. No mention of a Flat Cap. Every other description of him has him wearing clothes contemporary to the time of the sighting. No flat caps, no shell suits.

SAM: But… Every time I’ve seen him. Even in those memories in the Crystal Ball.

Jay: Yeah, yeah! I know, but, honestly, nobody else has ever specified and I think they would, because he’d stand out. Especially in the old stories. Only it doesn’t come up. The only times it comes up are in accounts from the 70s and 80s, and from you. There is very little description of him at all, and it’s honestly mostly because of the one thing everyone can agree on.

SAM: You can’t look at his face?

Jay: Exactly. There’s vague descriptions of expressions but, nobody seems to know what he looks like.

SAM: Because he doesn’t look like anything.

Jay: That’s my theory.

INDI: The slimy one is like that too, but less so. So are the others.

SAM: The slimy… what?

INDI: Scourge, you call him. But that’s not his only name.

SAM: Course it isn’t. Everyone involved in this nightmare apparently has at least six of them, you know, just in case it wasn’t difficult enough to keep track of things already.

INDI: You know what, Sparky. I’m starting to like you.

SAM: Sparky. Indi you are making it worse. Could you just tell me what you meant about Scourge?

INDI: Sorry, sorry. They have a way they like to present themselves, and the ideas are always the same; grossness, predominantly. Otherwise though, the clothes they wear, they look of their face, the shape of their body. It changes, based on who’s around. But those eyes. Or, Not Eyes. They’re always like that.

SAM: Huh. Thats… interesting.

Jay: It is.

SAM: I– Jay. Scourge. Do you have anything about him?

Jay: A couple of things, I think. And the others, too.

SAM: You know about the others?

Jay: Scarcity, Strife, and Scourge, yes. They’re a sort of trio, but not because they’re together. There’s a few stories, usually around the Man in the Flat Cap or people that knew him. Actually, they crop up a lot in those kinds of disconnected mysteries, you know? A stranger in a field. A mysterious death. Most times, there are roses, but every now and then, they’ll show up. These figures. The names aren’t consistent, but the way people describe feeling when they’re around is. And it’s always those three things. There’s not enough or there’s nothing at all; that’s Scarcity. That everything is in conflict and violence is the only answer; that’s Strife. That there is poison in the air, in everything, inside of us. Scourge. Actually, the names… I’m not sure they’re ever mentioned. I just started making a note of each of them as I went and started to call them that… oh. Oh.

SAM: It’s alright, Jay. That’s just them. It’s alright.

Jay: I need to check some things. There’s something else, but. I don’t know for certain and I won’t until I’ve done more research.

SAM: What is it?

Jay: I’m not certain. I need to be sure.

SAM: Alright. Just. You’ll call me, when you know?

Jay: Yes, of course.

SAM: Alright.

Jay: Be careful, Sam.

SAM: Don’t worry about me, Jay. Worry about yourself.

INDI: What about me? Anyone even going to offer?

SAM: I worry about you frequently.

INDI: How sweet.

SAM: I worry I’m going to bash your head in. Can you get us back to the Hatfield Karpos?

INDI: Will Oliver be there?

SAM: Yes, it’s where he lives, Indi. Can you get me home or not?

INDI: Ugh, fine. If I must.

SAM: Right. Well. Thank you, Jay. And thank you, faithful listeners, for being here with us. Goodnight.