Click for Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Stereo audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
- Mentions of death and dying
- Mentions of cannibalism
They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but on the back of the cover is where you’ll find the blurb. Make of that what you will. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello, Faithful Listeners. I’ve made a new friend. Everyone, this is Cat.
SAM: Cat belongs to Anna’s neighbours, we think. But she’s been spending a lot of time here since I moved in, haven’t you, sweetness?
SAM: It’s nice, actually. I’ve been missing Revel. I’m glad he’s with Oliver, because that means Oliver’s not completely alone, and Revel is. Well, he’s Revel. He’s big. He’ll look after Oliver.
I thought I’d use this week to go through some of the things which have been popping up on the forums recently. So much has been happening, I feel like we’ve barely connected at all. I’m sorry about that, Faithful Listeners! That’s what the show is supposed to be about, after all. It might not be the Advice and Community Segment anymore, but we are still a community, aren’t we? And I need to do better at checking in with you and looking out for you, I think. Especially after last weeks’, um. Revelations? Shall we say?
Host of Spirit Box Radio.
Firstly, we should probably touch on that a bit. A few forum users took it upon themselves to do a sort of survey of the forums after the broadcast last week. They wanted to find out if anyone else who uses the forums is, um. Dead. It turned up some pretty interesting findings. In case you’ve not had a chance to look at the post, I’ll just read it now, just so you’re in the loop:
RE: what’s been going on on the actual show recently, I thought it would be a good idea to use some of the new site features (yes, we’ll get to that shortly) and see where we stand here in regard to how people here identify, how long you’ve been using the forums, and stuff like that. Looking at the intros page it looks like there was a BIG influx of new folks a few weeks ago, around about when Host Sam resurrected Kitty, but I know some folks like lurking and that’s fine, so maybe we just had an influx of extroverted newbies or something!
A lot of new features have cropped up here recently! The auto-tagging thing is really good and actually super helpful, as it seems more people are getting their asks answered even though Sam isn’t having a lot of time to do that on air atm. Some you (those of you who are like ghosts iirc?) have access to the back end of the forums, so I’m also curious to know if those changes show up on your end. I’ll be using the new poll feature to get everyone’s responses, and bc you can only include one poll per post, I’ll be posting the questions as new posts replying to this one so nothing gets lost. Should take about 10mins max to complete if you want to take part! Feel free to post other intros with links to this original post.
– Tysm! Bella xx
About 30% of users, which is, oh, gods, that’s about 17,000 of you, my gods. Um. That’s so many. Huh, well. 30% of you have managed to fill out the little form, and so far it looks like there’s about a 60/40 living to not-living ratio. Which is. Hmm. Well. It’s concerning that there seems to be a fair few of you that didn’t realise you were, in fact, ghosts until you filled out the form, but there we are. How were you supposed to know, I suppose?
There doesn’t seem to be much in common to the ghosts. They joined at different times, died in different ways, and they’re from all over the world. The only things they have in common are an interest in Arcanism, and they all listened to the show at least a couple of times before they died, and well. They are all dead, which I’d say is the biggie, here.
In terms of the living users, there are more of you, and just like the ghosts there aren’t too many… unifying factors. It does seem like a lot more of you are LGBTQ+ than the general population, but it’s not clear yet whether that’s because that’s just who likes the show, or because the organisers of the form also made the LGBTQ section of the forums and posted it there first. It remains to be seen.
All pretty interesting stuff, though!
It’s weird to consider this from everyone else’s perspective. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in myself recently. I’m sorry about that, Faithful Listeners. I’m really proud of the community that’s sprung up around the show, and for the most part, everyone on the forums does a really good job of looking out for each other. It’s amazing to see this little space thrive, even if I’m not able to be as present there as I used to be! You guys are really important to me, and I hope that you know that.
I couldn’t keep going if it wasn’t for you, so thank you.
Um. I should move on before I start actually crying about this.
SAM: Oh, yeah! That’s right, I do have an Augury Forecast. I was helping Anna sort through one of the cupboards upstairs the other day, and I found this screwed up right at the back. It had this week’s date on it, but it looked like it had been there for a while. I’ll share it with you now.
A flight of cockatiels descend across a Manchester park; a change in fortune is in the air.
Be wary of stone stairwells during the last weekend of this month.
The sparrows align north. Add tomatoes to your salad this Tuesday.
Buzzards cut through a break in the clouds; this is a good time to do your laundry.
If you are the owner of the Red Ford Focus in the carpark, you’ve left the lights on.
So concludes the Augury forecast.
It’s been a while since I found one of those. It’s always nice, like someone’s looking out for me. It makes me feel less alone. I know that’s stupid. I’m not alone. I have Anna, and Kitty. I’ve got Rhytidia. I– I’ve technically got The Sins, and you know what, their company isn’t so bad now, really.
I have been wondering about that. How much of that is me, how much of that is them. Ingra and Bliss, they seem happier, I think. Ingra said they thought it was good, what had been happening, and whilst Bliss hasn’t said anything every time I see her it seems more and more like– well. Like she’s happy. Indi’s harder to judge. I see her the least. Her and Kitty have been trying to find out more about the Scarcemongers and it’s been surprisingly difficult, given how they seem so good at recruiting people.
They went to Prague, to follow up on that letter I got a few weeks ago, to look into Strife, the third of them. Harbingers. Of what, I don’t know.
All Indi and Kitty managed to find were rumours. A few years ago, people were becoming strange, all over the city. They didn’t have anything in common, these people, except that they would go out, be gone for hours, and return with terrible injuries, like they’d been fighting. These people came from all sorts of backgrounds; teachers; accountants; personal trainers. None of them seem to have been violent before, and yet, all of a sudden, they’d have black eyes and bloody lips. They wouldn’t speak about what was happening, any of them.
It seems like Strife is all about violence. That tracks. And Scarcity, she’s all about making the most of what you have, but in the most warped way possible, up to cannibalism. The fetishisation of desperation.
And Scourge? I dunno. I was thinking about it the other night, the way his words follow me around like a bad smell. He’s like an… infection. It spreads into everything I do.
But I don’t know.
But I do know they’re connected, somehow, the three of them. They’re the same kind of thing. And they’re connected to the Man in the Flat Cap. Scourge seems to do his bidding, and Strife, he… enforced whatever it was the Man in the Flat Cap wanted to happen with Oliver, made him…
Used him like a marionette. And Scarcity’s whole thing with the Scarcemongers, that’s tied up with the prophecy that made the Sins take out Madame Marie, the whole concept of the Redistribution, of things coming to an end.
I miss Oliver. I miss him so much, I just. But I– I can’t stop thinking. About Jay, and the others, and him afterwards. The way he looked. The look on his face, it was like… I don’t know. The man I love, he was still there but it was like he was at the bottom of a pond and there was no way I could swim down to reach him. It was–
I don’t know. I keep thinking about that letter. The warning? How much it didn’t seem to understand about him. About us. And I keep thinking about Scourge and how angry he was that I wouldn’t take Oliver. It was like he could not make sense of it. It was… unexpected. I was supposed to take Oliver, I was supposed to have him, but. I can’t do that because then his deal is mine, the reason he’s alive is I’m keeping him here and I.
I don’t want that.
Whatever else they think they know about me, about him, they didn’t account for that. For me not wanting to do that. Which makes me wonder what they think I’m like, and how else I might take them by surprise.
But mostly it makes me think about Oliver. It’s bad enough for me, and I’ve got Kitty and the Sins and Anna, and all the cats. And he’s just alone in there, with Revel, in his shop. He can’t even work. The place was boarded up. The Sins did it for us. Nobody can cross the threshold so there’s no point in leaving it as was. it was like that time, the first time he heard Scourge on the phone, when he just packed up and left. I wonder if that’s what Scourge had intended on happening, I wonder when on the schedule I was supposed to make Oliver mine. That time, when Scourge and I were speaking, it must have been too soon, because Scourge shut our conversation down and just… yeah. So some time after that, and before what happened with the Sins.
It’s funny, though, because there was that day, ages ago. I can’t remember what was happening. I’d spoken to Rhytidia, I think? And I saw a pale horse, and everything was extremely weird, and I heard a voice that said ‘take him’. Only it wasn’t Scourge. It wasn’t the Man in the Flat Cap. The voice was… well. It– it sounded like me. And it’s happened before, with the crystal ball. A voice, just like my own, calling back to me, but somehow knowing more than I do right now. It’s… Hmm.
But I know I won’t take Oliver. He’s much too important to me for that. So there, take that, you freaky harbingers with all your cryptic little messages, and take that Man in the Flat Cap, you’re just going to have to deal with it! Ha. Weren’t expecting that were you? No!
[CAT RUMBLES DEEP IN HIS CHEST]
I’m fine, dear, I’m sorry.
SAM: What do you mean, it might not be that straightforward?
SAM: No. I didn’t intend on making Revel and the others into Major Arcana, but what does that have to do with Oliver?
SAM: I sure hope I’m different to the Man in the Flat Cap, yeah, but I still–
SAM: Oh. Oh I see. Like with Beth and the others. It’s about the vibes.
SAM: You did just show up and start helping out. I appreciate it.
SAM: You– what.
SAM: You got hit by a car.
SAM: And you were fine!?
SAM: Yeah, I’m sure it did hurt. I’m sorry that happened to you. You think it has something to do with me?
SAM: It happened the day I moved in here? I mean, maybe it’s a coinci–
SAM: Okay, okay, jeez! It’s not a coincidence, I get it, I get it.
SAM: Great. Well. Does that mean you’re one of mine too, then.
SAM: Sort of? How can you sort of be a Major Arcana?
SAM: Ask Kitty? What are you–? Hey, come back! Where are you going!?
And she’s gone. Great. Cats. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
Ugh, I can’t think about this right now, I can’t.
[SAM GETS UP, WALKS THROUGH THE HOUSE]
Huh, what’s this on the counter?
It’s a box, with some cookies, and a bottle of water.
There’s a note.
Make sure you eat these and drink this whole bottle of water before you go to bed. I will check in the morning and if you haven’t, I’ll rehydrate your raisiny corpse just to kill you. Love you, happy broadcasting.
I don’t deserve this. Not even a little bit. Not after what I’ve done.
CAT: Mrrrow mrah!
SAM: Oh, there you are.
SAM: I’m not doing fine. Look at this mess. I failed Oliver. I trapped all those people on the forums. Beth, Mystery, Emily, all of them. If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be stuck like this. I don’t know how to let Bliss, Ingra and Indi go, and not that— I know they’ve not asked, not directly, but they should, and I should let them go, but I don’t know how, and I’m scared to find out, because– what if I don’t want to? What if I want to keep them?
And if Anna only knew. If she understood what I’ve done with— She wouldn’t let me stay here. She’d never speak to me again, and I deserve that. I deserve all of it. I did this. It’s all my fault.
SAM: No. But whether I meant for any of this to happen doesn’t really matter, does it, because it did happen. And it all happened because of me. I did this, and I– –
I don’t have the microphone.
I didn’t bring the mic with me when I came into the kitchen. I just… huh. I feel like I’m pretty sure I’m still broadcasting though, what an odd sensation, lets go and see.
SAM: Faithful listeners, you can still hear me, can’t you?
[SAM SITS DOWN]
SAM: Oh, hey, covenbabe666. You can hear me, too? That’s good. Well, it’s weird, is what it is, but it’s good, I guess? And Karl, and– so that’s pretty conclusive, isn’t it? I can broadcast the show without the mic. Huh, ow, uh. Bizarre, I guess? Yeah. We’ll run with that. ‘Bizarre’ works fine, doesn’t it.
I’m glad you agree. Awh, thanks covenbabe! My voice is a lot deeper now, isn’t it? That’s one good thing that’s happened recently. It’s really cool, isn’t it? I never really thought about it before. My voice was just my voice, but now when I hear it back it really sounds like I expect it to. I keep forgetting anything is different, because it just feels so right. It’s wonderful.
Oh– Emily is typing.
She says ‘why don’t I try looking at the Arcane directly and see what’s going with how I’m broadcasting?’
Well, Emily, I’m not very good at–
covenbabe666 says they’re happy I’m so happy about my voice but I should stop being such a bone head about the magic stuff and actually try to do it properly. Well. How would you suggest I go about that, hmm?
Breathe, relax, and focus? What is this, a meditation retreat!? Ugh, fine, fine, I’m sorry! Alright, alright! I’ll give it a go. But I’m not making any promises.
[SAM TAKES A DEEP BREATH]
Relax. And focus.
It’s not working.
No, covenbabe, I am not giving up too fast– KARL, how can you be agreeing with them, I thought you guys hated each other!? You’re always arguing and–
Karl says covenbabe’s an idiot but they’re right about this. Oh, and Emily agrees. Mystery too. Bathsheba, fine, FINE.
I’ll try again.
Okay.I can do this. I am good at this. I am good at this, I can do this!
Concentrate, concentrate, CONCENTRATE!!!
[THE ARCANE SHIMMERS]
I did it.
I can see it! On PURPOSE!
Yeah, take that, Madame Marie. Not so useless now, am I!? HA!
[ARCANE SHIMMERS MORE BRIGHTLY]
[ARCANE SHIMMERS MORE BRIGHTLY]
Right, every time I speak it gets twinklier.
SAM: Oh, hey cat. You can see it too?
SAM: Cats always see the arcane? What? All of them!? Well damn.
[SAM’S MAGIC HUMS]
[SAM TAKES A FEW STEPS]
Oh. Wow. There they are. The Sins’ deals.
You see? The reason the roses are on the other side, it’s because they chose, isn’t it? But don’t you have to make a deal with the Man in the Flat Cap to be made a Major Arcana in the first place?
SAM: You’re right. They didn’t know all the terms. They said so. Indi even talked about it, when we met with Jay.
The strands of the cut threads which used to bind them to the Man in the Flat Cap at still there. Hmm. And there’s this one, too. A knot. Which. Oh. Right–
Hang on, what’s that?
This is a thread from me, and it sort of twists away into… nowhere, like the way that Beth’s deal twists away into that halo inside of me, in my reflection. Only…
[SAM’S MAGIC HUMS]
It’s the Man in the Flat Cap.
We’re connected here, and there’s a rose-looking knot in this.
But I didn’t make a deal with him. This doesn’t make sense.
SAM: Yeah. It is. Very weird indeed.
If I follow it…
Hmm, this… I think this is like. It’s strange, it’s not a substantial as the other threads. It’s like it’s only half there, I can barely see it. I—
Oh. Julius said a prophecy can help us see beyond the present moment, that’s what this is, maybe. It branches off, just beyond this knot, tying me to the Man in the Flat Cap. It’s like a spider’s web of possibilities, but they’re all interconnected. This could go so many ways, but in the end it looks like— it looks like they all end up at the same place, whatever happens in between.
Looks like Oliver was right; some things are inevitable. All of these threads, they come from decisions made so long ago, and they’re all connected, but they all come back to this, this one point at—
[MAGIC HUMS, ARCANE SHIMMERS]
That’s it. The Redistribution; becoming one with the one. The threads are all here, but there, THIS, right here. That’s where they all twist into place. Eight weeks from now. Yeah. Eight weeks, there about.
Okay, Faithful Listeners. I think that’s quite enough adventures for one day, don’t you think? I’ll speak to you next week. Until then, be kind to yourselves, okay? We need each other. It’s a dark time out there. Goodnight.