Click for Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Stereo audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
- Sounds of emotional distress (heavy breathing, sniffling, crying sounds)
- Mentions of death and dying
- Mentions of cannibalism
- Implications of emotional manipulation
If you laugh and the world laughs with you, try turning off the microphone. If you weep alone but you want some company, turning the microphone on. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello, Faithful Listeners! I’m so sorry about my, uh. Mood. Last week. It’s been tough leaving Oliver trapped in the Hatfield Karpos. I don’t even know if he can hear the show. He told me to stop coming and standing outside. I think it was just making it harder? At least we know is the seal I made on the Hatfield Karpos is secure, I guess. He’ll be able to leave, if he needs to, but I’m pretty certain nobody can call him out against his will, you know? He has Revel with him. They’ll be okay.
It was good to meet Arlo, to speak to them in person, to really understand what’s going on inside the Scarcemongers. It was good to get a bit of perspective. I wonder if I was a little hard on them? I just… it’s hard to sympathise with a cannibal who isn’t eating the dead out of some kind of long standing cultural reverence. I just. I can’t. I won’t. I don’t know.
These people all trust each other, to more or less of an extent. They’re looking for family, for a place to belong, and what they find is… that. A place where their number could be up any day. I can’t imagine it, building these relationships with people you know you might have to kill the next week.
A couple of listeners on the forums were pleased to hear from Ingra. I’ve been calling on them more and more recently. I don’t know. I’m starting to enjoy their company? Theirs and Bliss’. Indi, too, I guess, but. Well. I don’t actually see that much of Indi to be honest. They’ve been hanging out with Kitty, I think, though I don’t know what they do together.
Yeah, I don’t know, things with the Sins have been so… I don’t know. They’ve been different, since I brought Kitty back. It’s not just that I’m more powerful now, though not even I can ignore that, but there’s something else, too. Like. What’s happening with Ingra, Indi and Bliss, with their personality changes. Changes, to put it mildly. It’s more like… I don’t know. They’re growing personalities for the first time, or maybe getting them back or… I don’t know! But it’s not like I knew what they were like before – they’ve been around for hundreds of years, how could I?
The strangest thing happened to me the other day, you know. I was up with Anna, early in the morning. I’ve been staying at her place. It’s actually kind of nice, despite the lingering bad vibes of Guy. I wonder what happened to him, where he’s gone. He seems to have just… vanished. It’s so… I don’t know. But he’s definitely gone. I can remember his name, now, and when I look in the Arcane, I can see the ties that bound he and Anna are all gone, and the ends of the threads are frayed. It’s weird, actually. Other dead people I’ve met, the threads go on, gently unravelling into the rest of the Arcane. How blended the threads are really seems to depend on how— on how… I don’t know… how there the ghosts are, if that makes sense? Beth, she has very long ties, and I can see where they move and tie, all the strange knots and weaves where she’s less defined at the edges than a living person would be…
That’s an interesting comparison actually, you know. The Sins, and Oliver. Their threads of the Arcane fold and double back, concentrating on one, focused point, like a lantern amidst the rest of it all. They’re still connected to the world, but they’re more… I don’t know. It’s changed, for the Sins, since I took them, and—
I got so sidetracked, but it’s alright, this is actually related to what I was going to say, funnily enough, to the weird thing. It was early morning, like I said. Anna was getting ready for court and I hadn’t been to bed yet. We were having a coffee in the kitchen. Anna was telling me something about what she’s been doing at work, and then mid-sentence, mid-word, even, she just… stopped.
I got up, looked at her, and she was… completely still. She didn’t respond when I said her name or anything. Then I noticed. The net curtains she has hung in the kitchen window so the neighbours can’t see in, they were billowed out, caught in a breeze from the open window, but they were completely still, too. The tap, which Anna had been running to put a little bit of cold in her coffee, the water was frozen, not like ice, but like smooth, clear glass, a few droplets hanging midair, suspended.
It was so strange.
And then I felt… a change? In the air?
It wasn’t wind, not exactly, but my skin prickled as though it was. And so, I turned, and I followed it, out of the kitchen, into the hall, and then, just, because it happens sometimes, and I can’t always control it, I could see the Arcane. All the threads of the world were shimmering around me. The bugs in the carpet, the moss growing in the gutter outside, all alive and glistening. And there, I could see, it was like. From me, I could see these threads, and I know they’re the ones that tie the Sins to me. If I reach out and touch the threads, I can feel they go all the way to them, joining us together. Not the wispy things that link people who have met, not even the complicated ties between friends and family. These are solid, like they’re deliberate, full of careful knots we tied together, when I took their deals. Like a rope made of smaller threads, bound in knots.
Right then when everything else had stopped, I reached out to their threads and I could see them… differently.
Then, when everything was stopped and I reached out to their threads, and in those knots… they weren’t roses, not exactly. But I could see how you would see it as a rose, if– if you wanted to explain it to someone who cannot see the Arcane… it was so curious.
You’d think, from what I know about the Man in the Flat Cap, that the roses would be on my side of the knot. But they weren’t. I could see I was connected to them, but they were over there, tied to them. I could see cut tethers, remnants, I guess, of where they’d been tied to the Man in the Flat Cap, connections we severed when these new knots were tied.
And when I touched the roses, for an instant, I could just– I saw that the others, the other people who are, I don’t know, somehow connected to me like this, that all of their roses, they’re on their side of the ropes.
And then time started again and Anna was really confused because I’d been eating a pain au chocolat behind her not a second ago and I was suddenly in the hallway hyperventilating.
It was all so… strange. I could tell, after, that it was all different somehow. That this change was recent. That the roses had been somewhere else, before.
I tried to talk to Ingra about it but they were about as useful as you’d think. They basically just told me that it makes sense because things had been different since they gave their deals to me, and told me not to think too hard about it or my brain might explode. Because of course. I could ask Bliss, but I’m loathe to ask her to step away from the Scarcemongers, not right now, because everything is so tense and I’m too worried about Arlo to ask Bliss to leave, even for a few minutes. And Indi has been off with Kitty, and I don’t want to interrupt.
Hmm. I mean. I suppose they’re not my only options, though, are they? I know, I should call Beth! Beth? Beth! Hello? Beth!?
[STRANGE FIZZING POOF SOUND]
SAM: WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING!
BETH: I DON’T KNOW, WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING!?
SAM: BECAUSE! YOU’RE LIKE. YOU’RE THERE! YOU’RE HERE! I CAN SEE YOU!
BETH: AHH! OH GODS! YOU’RE RIGHT. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.
SAM: GODS! WHAT! WHAT!
SAM: What happens if I try to touch you!?
[BOTH SCREAM AGAIN]
BETH: Don’t do that!
SAM: Sorry, sorry!
BETH: It tickles.
[SAM BURSTS OUT LAUGHING]
SAM: It tickles!
[BETH LAUGHS TOO]
BETH: I’m semi-corporeal!
SAM: Yeah, damn, look at you go!
BETH: This is incredible, how did you do this?
SAM: Me!? I didn’t do anything! It must be you!
BETH: No, it’s not me, I don’t think. It’s you, it’s definitely you.
SAM: Well, damn.
BETH: So did you wanna like. Talk?
SAM: Yeah, yeah I guess! Uh. I was gonna ask you some stuff about before you like, died.
BETH: Oh, okay. Sure. Ask away.
SAM: Well. What was it like, before you died?
BETH: Uh, that’s… that’s a pretty big question. I don’t know. It was like being alive, I guess?
SAM: No, I mean, hmm. Were you, I don’t know. Were you big into the occult?
BETH: Sorta? I suppose? I don’t know. It’s all pretty distant now. I’m kinda detached.
SAM: Oh, sorry.
BETH: Nah, it’s fine don’t worry about it, it’s nothing really. Oh, did I say, I managed to speak with my mum?
SAM: You didn’t! I mean, you said you’d been trying leave a message but it was hard, you can’t talk to her like you can to me.
BETH: Yeah, well, actually, after you brought Kitty back, there’s been a lot of things that are different. I couldn’t talk to her directly, but I did manage to leave a message on her phone.
SAM: Oh wow, that’s neat.
BETH: Yeah, it is, right?!
SAM: This does kind of answer what I was going to ask, actually.
SAM: Yeah. I wanted to know if you were like… I don’t know, more similar to how you were when you were alive now than you were before.
BETH: Before what?
SAM: Um. I don’t know. But. I think something happened, when I made Kitty– when I brought her back from the dead. It was big, I think, but I don’t really understand why it was so big.
BETH: I mean. Raising people from the dead isn’t possible, so I’d say it’s pretty huge just on its own.
SAM: Yeah, yeah. I know. But I mean like. For you, for everyone in the forums. Did it change you?
BETH: Yes, I think so? I mean, look at me! You can look at me!
SAM: It’s wild. I am observing.
BETH: You sure are. And I’d say that’s pretty significant, wouldn’t you?
SAM: Yes. Pretty significant. And. Um. The other thing. The, uh. What you’re ‘for’.
BETH: Oh, well. To be honest, that’s been feeling less for a while, like maybe since you destroyed the boundary between us and the Impossible House–
SAM: Wait sorry until I did what?
BETH: When you made the Impossible House collapse and all the ghosts trapped there came here?
SAM: Yeah but, that’s not what you said, you said when I destroyed the boundary between the forum ghosts and the Impossible House.
BETH: Yes…? That’s the same? Thing?
SAM: No– I. They’re the same? It was some like of barrier?
BETH: The imagery was all about a door nobody could reach I think a boundary is a pretty good way to describe it.
SAM: Like it had been partitioned off?
BETH: I mean I guess.
SAM: Before Madame Marie died. What were you for then?
BETH: I helped her out where I could, I guess. It was less intense and something felt off about it but it was what it was.
SAM: Like you were being forced to serve her but still like that was your purpose, however off it felt?
BETH: Yeah pretty much. But back then I didn’t even know I was dead, so…
SAM: That’s right, you didn’t. And now, you don’t just know you’re dead, you’re a semi-corporeal ghost thing. I– Beth! This is important.
BETH: It is? I’m sorry. I didn’t know.
SAM: No, no it’s fine, don’t be sorry, I just. It. If. She. Madame Marie, she didn’t have power, she made a deal, she did have power, she went off and made loads of money, had Kitty and Anna, was super powerful, then she had me and things went weird, then she collapsed the house and. I was in a coma. And she was powerful again. The forums and the house were never properly separate, her ritual with her sigil, that’s what it did, that’s what it was for, it was a partition. I think. I think she was trying to separate me from it. She said she’d do whatever it took. She said. She said it. She said… ugh. What does this mean! Was she intending on keeping the power for herself or, what? What?! She was willing to let me die to take it from me.
BETH: That Julius guy.
SAM: What about him?
BETH: Didn’t he say Madame Marie was born out of an arcane deal, too?
SAM: Yes. He did.
BETH: So doesn’t that make you a double deal?
BETH: She’s born out of a deal, and so are you.
SAM: Yeah, I guess. I’m the gift and the price. The gift and the price. That bit bugs me, too, right? It’s annoying. The gift and the price. Which bit’s are the gift and which bits are the price? Like, she gets the power, but then she has to give it to me? Like. She’s. Regent to my power. I… I’ve said that before, haven’t I?
BETH: Yeah, in the Impossible House.
SAM: Right. And the Impossible House was a kind of Arcane space, wasn’t it? An artefact of the arcane, only the Styklers, they said they could usually tell what the source was, only… only they couldn’t. Like it was coming from nothing. But it wasn’t coming from nothing.
BETH: It was coming from you.
BETH: Hey, um. Have you ever looked in a mirror?
BETH: No I mean, have you looked into a mirror, like, when you see things like you see them through the spy glass?
SAM: No. Why?
BETH: I’d give it a shot, if I was you.
SAM: Um. Okay.
[SAM GETS UP, OPENS A DOOR]
SAM: Oh. Oh.
BETH: Oh damn! I can see myself! Sort of. Oo, I’m all wibbly. Sam? Sam, are you okay?
SAM: I. It’s like. Void. It’s like. It’s like. There are so many threads around the edges, and then in the middle, it’s. Nothing. I. I’m not.
BETH: No, look! Look closer.
BETH: It’s like. It does look like nothing at a glance, but. You see? The threads around the edges, they go in, there’s a whole web of them in there, like stars, see? Like you’re a lens or something.
SAM: Like. What?
BETH: Yeah, it’s wild. Never used to look like that.
SAM: I didn’t?
BETH: No, you were so bright it burned like the sun before, but now it’s like, I don’t know, it’s got bigger, but fallen inwards, if that makes sense? That’s new.
BETH: Are you okay?
SAM: I think I’m going to throw up.
BETH: Close the door, stop—
[THE DOOR SLAMS]
[SAM BREATHES FAST AND HARD]
[KNOCK ON THE DOOR]
ANNA: Sam? Everything okay in there?
[SAM CONTINUES TO BREATHE HARD AND FAST]
ANNA: Sam? Oh! Jesus! Beth! You’re… real!
ANNA: Sam? Sammy, honey, what’s going on.
SAM: I– I’m–
ANNA: You’re what? What do you need?
SAM: No, I– UGH!
[SAM GETS UP, RUMMAGES THROUGH A BOX]
SAM: Look, look at me!
[THE SEEING GLASS CLINKS OPEN. ANNA GASPS.]
ANNA: What is this?
SAM: It’s the web of the arcane, it connects everything, but Anna, look at me.
ANNA: Oh, goodness. Oliver and Indi said something about you being an eclipse, right after Kitty woke up. I– I didn’t realise what they meant.
BETH: Look closer, though, he’s not an eclipse. There’s a whole universe in there or something.
ANNA: What… on earth? How strange. Do other people look like this?
BETH: Not that I’ve seen.
SAM: [QUIETLY] Not people.
BETH: Look at all the threads coming off me, disappearing in there! Wild.
ANNA: Yes. It’s… kind of beautiful, actually.
SAM: [AGHAST] Beautiful!? No, Anna, don’t you see? It’s me, it was all me! The Impossible House, the Forums, I–
Host of Spirit Box Radio. Host of Spirit Box Radio. I’m not just– I’m hosting it. This is– it’s why we— there’s no broadcast space because it– it’s ME, ANNA IT’S ME.
ANNA: Well. I can’t say I’m surprised.
SAM: You can’t— what do you mean you’re not surprised!?
ANNA: I mean, well. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
SAM: DOES IT?
BETH: Yeah, it sort of does.
SAM: OH, WELL I SUPPOSE THAT’S JUST FINE THEN.
ANNA: Sam, please stop shouting, we have neighbours.
SAM: Sorry, sorry, I’m having a little trouble processing the fact that I’m apparently not a person.
BETH: Who said you’re not a person?
SAM: I– Bu— me! My own reflection!
BETH: Something weird’s happening there, for sure, but I don’t think it means you’re not a person.
ANNA: I agree with Beth. Who isn’t lying, by the way, if that helps.
SAM: I—! Yeah! It does, actually. It helps quite a lot. Thanks.
ANNA: That’s alright. How about I make you some tea, or something? You look peaky.
SAM: Yeah. Yeah okay.
ANNA: Too bad Kitty’s not here, she probably has whiskey, which would probably be better.
SAM: Yeah. I could do with that about now. Oliver has some– Oliver.
[SAM’S BREATH CATCHES]
This is what he meant. It’s me. The power and me, they’re the same thing. That’s what he meant, isn’t it?
ANNA: Sweetheart, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
BETH: Me neither, bud.
SAM: I– okay. Okay. Lets. Go have some tea. You sure you don’t have whiskey?
ANNA: I have crème de menthe. But I’m saving it.
SAM: For what?
ANNA: When you kill the Man in the Flat Cap.
ANNA: Come on. Let’s have tea.
SAM: Yeah, let me just. Sign out.
ANNA: Beth, are you staying for tea?
BETH: Don’t think I can drink it, but I’ll stay and vibe in the fumes if it’s all the same to you.
ANNA: Oh, can you taste the fumes?
BETH: Not sure. This semi-corporeal thing is very new.
ANNA: Oh really?
SAM: Um. Yeah. Okay. Good night, faithful listeners. I hope you’re okay. I’ll speak to you next week, and until then, I– well. You know where I am.