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
- Emotional distress
They say you shouldn’t cry over spilt milk, but if you do, that’s okay. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Hello, Faithful Listeners. Another week, another Enlightenment Segment. I’m trying my best to stay grounded and present, so I think the best course of action this week is to go through some recent forums posts, and see if there’s anything we can do to help. How’s that sound?
Before we crack on with more serious stuff, though, I have a message from Cora from Sevenoaks, who is starting drama school in the next few weeks!
It’s been a while since I posted here as I’ve been really busy for the last year or so and I’ve been working on stuff. I wrote to you asking for advice about when I should start drama school not long after you started hosting the show, and you read some tarot for me, and told me I should wait and apply for this year, so that’s exactly what I did. At first I was really nervous. I’m super eager to get going with my life and I was worried that taking another year out between college and uni would feel like stagnating, but it’s honestly been the best decision I could have made. I’ve been working with my local theatre since January this year, running workshops with kids from my area, helping them get into acting and theatre in general. It’s been really rewarding because I actually fell in love with theatre during this one session run every summer holidays by the council. Working with these kids has been really hard, but it’s helped me remember why I love acting and theatre so much, and now I’m taking all of this experience with me when I do go to drama school.
I’m starting in a few weeks, and I can’t tell if I’m nervous or excited, but I am absolutely sure this is the right time for me to go. Thank you so much, and lots of love,
Cora from Sevenoaks.
That’s very exciting Cora, I am so glad you got into drama school, and that you’ve enjoyed taking the time you have before you go! I love to see things working out for people. I hope you have as much of a rewarding experience when you go away as you have over the last year. We’re all rooting for you!
If anyone who’s listening to the show right now is about to embark on a big change of circumstances like Cora, remember that the whole community of faithful listeners is there to support you. Change can be scary, but that’s okay. Remember that as frightening as it can be, your body is built for this. Every seven years or so, every cell in your body has been replaced at least once, so even if your brain says ‘no, too scary’, your blood and your bones are ready whenever you are, and it’s always okay to take it slow and take it a bit at a time if that’s what you need, just like your blood and your bones do.
Right, okay then, let’s—
Oh. I wonder who that could be?
[SAM ANSWERS THE PHONE]
KITTY: Sam, it’s me.
KITTY: Listen, things are getting… weird, here. I need to know what you want me to do next.
SAM: Weird how?
KITTY: Well. Indi and I, we’ve tracked down some more information about Strife. It seems like the people in Prague, and the ones in Sydney had their own stories about the Redistribution.
SAM: Right. What did they say about it?
KITTY: It’s not clear. It’s been hard to get hold of any writing they’ve all done, and being Arcanists, their accounts often conflict, but the gist of it is they believe it will be some kind of fight to the death, that all the followers of Strife would come together and beat each other until they became one in the pulp, or something. But it’s really hard make sense of it, it’s really incoherent. And then the groups disbanded a few years ago, for whatever reason.
SAM: I guess it stopped being part of the plan.
KITTY: Right. So what’s your plan?
SAM: Gods, Kitty, I don’t know. I don’t really have one.
KITTY: The Redistribution is only four weeks away, if what you told me about what you saw in the Arcane is right. What I see lines up with it too. You need to think of something.
SAM: Why me? Why do I have to be the one to do this?
KITTY: Sam. Maybe you didn’t start out trying to be in charge. But you are. You made yourself in charge. If there was any doubt about what you are and what you can do, it’s gone, now.
SAM: What are you saying?
KITTY: I’m saying that when you remade me, you made a choice about how things were going to be.
SAM: When I… Kitty I had no choice!
KITTY: You could have let me go.
SAM: Is that what you wanted?!
KITTY: It doesn’t matter what I want. It is what it is. I am what I am.
KITTY: Don’t. It’s different for me. Indi, Bliss, Ingra… they chose what they were, to more or less of an extent. Yeah, maybe the terms of the deal weren’t what they expected, but they were there, they understood. I had no choice. You just. Did it.
SAM: I’m sorry.
KITTY: What does that matter?
SAM: I don’t know. Sorry.
KITTY: Sam. I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad I can help. But that doesn’t mean it’s right, or okay, and Anna—
SAM: You can’t tell Anna. She’ll never forgive me.
KITTY: Of course she will. If you ask her, she’d probably agree with you that there was nothing else that could be done, not under the circumstances.
SAM: But you don’t?
KITTY: I think death is death, Sam.
KITTY: Yeah. Okay. Just. Think about what you want to do next. I don’t think learning more about Strife is going to help you stop the Redistribution, so. Like it or not, what happens next depends on you. You can’t keep sending me away and pretending things aren’t happening, because they are.
SAM: I– okay.
[KITTY HANGS UP]
[SAM IS QUIET FOR A MOMENT]
[SAM MAKES A SMALL, STRANGLED SOUND. MAGIC HUM FLARES. OBJECTS MOVE AND TREMBLE, LIGHTBULBS EXPLODE]
[A THUD. SOUNDS OF FALLING RUBBLE]
SAM: Oh no, oh no, Anna’s wall! What have I– oh gods, oh no…
[DIRT FALLS TO THE GROUND]
There are… things in here.
[MORE FALLING DIRT]
Bones. Bits of… human hair. A— a ring. Teeth. What. What is this, I–
A note? A. Note, I.
About a month ago, I think, my mum came and picked me up from university for the Christmas holidays. I was tired and we couldn’t find the lift and had to carry all my stuff down six flights of stairs. So neither of us talked much. She asked me how I was, and I said I was very tired, and she said ‘let’s get home’, and we got in the car. I had this big duffel coat on but I was still cold, even when we were in the car and driving and I could hear the heating whirr.
The radio played Slade, then George Michael, then the news. Mum asked some questions – how I was, whether I’d made any friends, what the food was like in halls. Whether I’d had dinner yet. I looked out of the window as we left town and joined the motorway. There was still leftover rain on the glass outside, and it blurred the cat’s eyes as we passed. I know it’s not surprising that I know what the motorway looks like, but I remember exactly how it looked that evening. The rest-stops and road-signs, until they disappeared and there was just road. The white lines and yellow light, and the trees, very black. The sky murky, more cloud than stars. The moon missing a sliver.
It was a long drive home, but I didn’t remember it being so straight. I murmured, half asleep, ‘the road’s longer than I remember’, trying to make it funny because I felt uncomfortable. Then she turned to me with my mother’s face and she just smiled, and I don’t know how to explain it. My mother had the same mouth but a different smile. She had the same face, but she didn’t use it like that; she didn’t make the same expressions; her laugh came out differently. Either way, I felt all the force of recognition, but what I was recognising was the fact that I knew something with complete certainty: that was not my mother.
I suppose I fell asleep or something. Anyway, like I said, that was all a long time ago and I was very tired, so I was probably worrying over nothing. Now I’m back in halls, and having a party, and it feels so stupid that I could ever have felt that worried, in a car on the motorway of all places. With my mother. I told my friends about it, just now, and they laughed, especially Di, because I used to make fun of her so much for believing in ghosts. We’re all a bit giddy, I think, with the alcohol and the lights and the too-loud music. Uni stuff, you know.
It was Di who put this number into my phone, after trying to call you, once, about some ghost or other that’s meant to be in halls. Not even these halls, the other ones. The older ones, which look nicer but apparently have a really shitty kitchen. I don’t listen to this sort of thing, really. Sorry. I don’t like believing in something if I can’t also know it for a fact.
I’m only writing because I can’t remember how I got here. Probably I should call a doctor, or the wellbeing team, or something, but it’s just that – well, I know the last thing I do remember. And I’m a little worried about the outside of this room.
I’m a little worried about this room, actually. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like I’m holding onto it. Although now I know that I don’t remember, I’m not holding on as well. I can’t remember why I’m wearing a coat, for instance, and Di only looked confused when I pointed it out to her. I’m not sure why there seem to be floodlights outside the window, or why the trees blur under the moon. It’s the same moon, I think, with a tiny piece carved away, but I can’t look too closely because I’ll lose my grip on the rest of the room, the walls and the people and the absence of the unfamiliar. I’m standing up. I’m standing up and my hand is on the wall. I’m standing up. I’m standing up and my hand is on the wall, half on the plaster and half an old Monty Python poster. My hand is on the wall and I’m standing up. My hand. I can see my hand.
I’m standing up. I’m standing up and my hand is on the wall.
I’m not sure which is worse: I’m making everything up, which would mean I’m not writing you for help at all, or asking for help. Asking for help without listening.
I’m standing up. I’m standing up and my hand is on the wall.
My hand is on the wall, I’m standing up. My hand. I can see my hand.
I. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, I think I– I think this is my fault, it’s all my fault. Hello? Are you – are you there? Can you hear me? If you can hear, me, I’m sorry.
I never meant for this to happen. I never meant to become this thing and I never meant to hurt anyone. You’re lost and confused and I don’t know how to help you. I want to help you, I want to save you, but I can’t because I’m just so–
I’m lost and confused too, you understand? Please. Please forgive me. I’m so sorry this has happened. I’m so sorry it’s my fault. I don’t know what I do or how I do it. I never meant for any of this to—
I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
There’s something I–
I know you all love Kitty so much, I know you do. I love her too, and that’s why I– why I did what I did. And I want you to understand I didn’t mean for it to go the way it did. For her to be the way she is. I just wanted her back. Wouldn’t you do everything you could to bring someone back? If you loved them? If it was your fault they were dead in the first place? You can’t tell me you wouldn’t try everything you could to undo it. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t–
I am making excuses, I know, I know. Maybe you already know, maybe I–
I didn’t. I couldn’t bring her back, not like. Not like she was. I don’t even know how you would go about that, how could you? But the bits of her that were still lingering, her ghost, I could tie it all back to her body and use the Arcane to–
to stop it.
So it would carry on, but.
At the moment of death.
I didn’t mean for it to be– I didn’t mean for. I wouldn’t have. If I thought about it like I was keeping them as servants or something, if I thought of it as imprisonment, I wouldn’t have done it I wouldn’t have! I give them the choice, I’ve given them all the– the knots! I try to. I think about it like. It’s all about VIBES. If I just make sure I only keep them tied to me because they want it, then I– and I know that.
Realistically. Like, I don’t know how it would be done, not exactly, but when I command people, it’s like. I pull on the threads in the Arcane. And when I brought Kitty back, when I made her one of mine, I– and I wasn’t lying, when I said I don’t understand how I did it, because I don’t, but I do know what I did, and it was tying the threads back together. The loose ends beginning to curl their way back into everything. I knotted it up. Into one of those big knots. I wasn’t looking at it, when I did it it. I didn’t see that it was almost exactly like– like what the Man in the Flat Cap does. I didn’t know, you know, that what I was doing was making her like Oliver and the Sins. Not before it was done. Not until after.
So I don’t know how it works, but I think if I wanted it to happen, I could make it work, you know. I could find a way to let them go, because based on all of that, then, really, of course, if I let go of the threads. They could all be free.
But it hasn’t happened. And I’m telling myself it’s because they haven’t asked but like, who am I kidding? I know they shouldn’t have to, I should just do it. Right now, I should do it, I should unpick those knots, let them go.
But I don’t want that to happen, do I? So that’s why I haven’t done it. And I think if I tried it wouldn’t work because it’s arcane and it’s about intention and I don’t intend to let them go.
I keep thinking about Mystery. Ages ago, they said to me that I had to know, and understand, to believe it all, to let the ghosts go. And they’re right, I think. I need to know. And Kitty’s right, too. I might not have intended to end up in charge or be very good at it, but it’s kind of what’s happened, and what I say goes because, well. I speak and will be heard. So that’s that.
And I don’t really know why, because I really don’t want to be in charge, I don’t want to be commanding them. I don’t want Major Arcana, I don’t even want ghosts who are somehow tied to me, I don’t want any of it, so why am I holding on to this? To them? Keeping them here like this?
Indi, Ingra, Bliss. They agreed to this. But Kitty didn’t. And it’s not fair. But I don’t know what’ll happen if I let go, do I? What if I let go and they die? Then it’s my fault. Because I was supposed to do a better job. Like. What. What am I supposed to do? Just let them go, even if it means dying? I just. I don’t know. I feel like that shouldn’t be my choice to make.
I’ve done what I can, you know? I think? I try to be– to be good about it. Beth doesn’t even feel like she’s for anything anymore. The Sins don’t listen to me, which has to be a good thing.
Look, look, whoever you are, letter writer from the wall, please, please, listen. Listen to me. You can go, you can GO. You can BE FREE. You don’t need to stay. Please don’t stay, please don’t hang on thinking it will change or get better, don’t hold on for me, please just. Just go.
Here, this thread, here! It’s you, I found you. I’ve got you. Alright? You’re alright. It’s going to be alright. Just go. Please. Please. I know what I am, I understand, I really do. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just. I didn’t meant to hold onto you like this I promise, I—
[THE SOUND OF HOOVES]
[A HORSE KNICKERS, DISTANTLY]
[THE HOOVES GET FURTHER AWAY]
[THE ARCANE SHIMMERING FADES, AND THE MAGIC HUM BEGINS TO RECEDE]
Gods, what is wrong with me?
What in hells is wrong with me!
[SAM BREATHES HEAVILY]
I’m being a coward, aren’t I? A foolish little boy, just like Madame Marie always said. I don’t want to be a coward. I don’t. So. I’m going to find a way to stop the Scarcemongers. I have to. It’s all I can do.
Faithful Listeners. I love you. Goodnight.