Click to Reveal Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Panning effects (sounds will be different in right and left headphones)
- References to death and dying
- Mild panic
- Brief description of and references to drowning, with the sound of water
- Description of a car accident with sound effects (car engine, tyres scraping, a quiet, distant crash)
- Implications of a loss of autonomy
- Voice altering effects; reverberation and echo effects (used sparingly)
What’s in a name? How much of what we know of the sweetness of roses comes from what we expect? Would a rose that smelled foul still be a rose? Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.
Another week, another Enlightenment Segment, and I’m still not over how wonderful it is to speak to you all like this, you know? I’m so lucky to be host of Spirit Box Radio. I don’t bring it up enough, I don’t think. It’s so easy for it all to get lost in the sauce. There’s so much going on, trying to figure out the forums, tracing the paths of whatever else has being going on and work out what it means. It’s so easy to let the simple joy of what I do fade into the background, but I shouldn’t. It’s good. I love doing this. It’s a light in my life. Whatever the reason, I feel so good, so clearheaded whilst the show is broadcasting. Ah.
To start things off, this week, I have an augury forecast, for you, actually! I found it stuffed into the toe of my shoe. Here’s what it says:
Two chevrons of geese cross in the sky. The place below where the lead bills pass marks where Mr Penfold dropped his wedding ring in 1953.
The wind rises from the West and carries a tune through the gates of Regent’s Park; those who hear it should be wary of squirrels ahead.
Faceless rider on painted steed; he bears advice, warns not to heed; from their lips shall spill the doom; a nameless fate disguised in tune; if you should search before you seek; you might find your course oblique; but there is wonder to be found; in tuneless words, and desperate sounds.
The second will fall and be roused by the third, baptised by tears of the first.
The fall of seagull feathers from a nest in a chimney of a cottage by the sea spells intrigue; this is a good time to trust in those who trust you.
So concludes the Augury Forecast.
Oliver and I went to the park this week to feed the ducks and he was telling me about how augury works. Basically, you study the movements of birds, and that can be interpreted as hints about the future. He said he’d done a bit of augury himself. I asked him what the ducks were saying about our future but he didn’t take it very seriously. All he said was that he thinks they’d prefer bread to corn. I’ve explained to him so many times that bread is bad for ducks but every time we go to the park he apologises for the peas and sweetcorn we throw for them. He’s probably just doing it to mess with me. He can be a real nightmare sometimes, but gods do I l–
Ehh. We haven’t actually said that. I think I do? I like him a lot. I think about him all the time. I prefer it when he’s here as opposed to when he isn’t. I don’t know, I’ve never been in a relationship before. Oliver has been in loads, so. I guess. He’ll know when’s right to say that, right? So. You know.
Oh. Never mind, it’s not important.
Moving on, some incredible users on the forums have started to itemise all of the prophecies the Recording Machine found. It’s amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it, but… I don’t know. Some of them are so weird. Some of them I can see that they’re about me right away. A whole bunch of them are just ‘beware the Heir Apparent’, and like. Yes? That’s me, we’ve established that. Though there was some discussion about how to write that prophecy down. Listening back to some of the recordings, there is a pause, like ‘beware, the Heir Apparent’. In some of them the ‘the’ is so soft you can barely hear it, and I wonder if it’s actually there at all, you know? So, some of them might be saying, ‘beware, Heir Apparent’, which might be like ‘danger cliff ahead’, you know, or it might be like, ‘you, cliff that’s ahead, there’s danger’. Like they’re warning me about something. Not that that’s anything new either. Me, in danger? What is it, Tuesday?
[SAM LAUGHS WRYLY, AND IT TURNS SOUR AND FLAT. THEY CLEAR THEIR THROAT]
Anyway. Yep. There’s loads of them like that which crop up loads of times, but there’s a few which only appear once. One of them is this:
‘before your eyes, a man will die and come back to life, and in that man’s heart is the doom of the world, and when he falls, the first stone in the path of the end will be laid’
Pretty cryptic, right? And I asked for prophecies about me, so I assume I’m the man, which is, you know, 75% right, because I’d say I’m at least 25% ‘eh?’ and 75% man at most. And I did die, and a whole bunch of people saw it. Indi, Bliss, Ingra, and Oliver were there in the room, and you guys, faithful listeners, you heard it, so like. You were basically there too. So there could have been anyone so I did die and come back before at least, oh, I don’t know. A whole bunch of people’s eyes and ears. It does specifically mention eyes but. I don’t know. Assuming most of you had eyes when you were listening, too? No disrespect if you don’t, just it probably means you weren’t the one who the prophecy was made to, which… I’m realising now you’d already know because whoever the prophecy was made to would know the prophecy was made to them, right?
But even if we do discount you faithful listeners, that still leaves four people the ‘you’ in this prophecy could be, and one of them is Oliver, who can’t talk about a lot of stuff because he’s magically tongue tied not to, and the Inconvenient Sins, who I have extra inconveniently somehow magicked to the four corners of the globe or something so I can’t ask them and even if I could! They’re Major Arcana! Just! Like! Oliver! And they probably wouldn’t be able to tell me about it anyway.
[AS SAM SPOKE, A MAGIC HUM ROSE, AND OBJECTS RATTLED WITH INCREASING INTENSITY]
[SAM TAKES A DEEP BREATH]
Gods, gods, gods!
It’s fine. I’m fine. This is fine. It’s all fine. Right? Right.
[MAGIC HUM AND RATTLING EASES OFF A LITTLE]
Yeah. Whew. Fine. See!? Absolutely, 100% fine.
[AS IF TO PUNCTUATE THE WORD ‘FINE’, A LIGHTBULB EXPLODES]
SAM: Yeah. Okay, so I’m a little stressed! Who wouldn’t be?!
SAM: I am talking about it. That’s what I’m doing right now, isn’t it?
SAM: No. I don’t want to call anyone.
SAM: I know it sounds ridiculous, but I don’t care! I don’t want to talk about it with them. I don’t want their help, I don’t want to do discuss I just!!
I just want it to stop.
I’m scared, Revel. I don’t know what any of this means and. What if I’m something bad, Revel? What if I’m something awful and terrible and he doesn’t— what if it means he doesn’t—-
REVEL: Mrrrrr. Mrah! Mrrrrrnnn.
SAM: I keep thinking, you know, about what it is the Man in the Flat Cap does. He goes to people who call him when they’re desperate. Sometimes I think they’re dying, but they don’t have to be for him to come. They just have to be desperate enough. I think that’s the key. That letter, from Mr Prakash, the point at which he met the Man in the Flat Cap was when he’d finally given up all hope of finding him, all hope of solving his problem. He was angry, despairing, desperate. And that’s when it happened.
Before, when Oliver has talked about making deals with the Man in the Flat Cap, he’s always said it has to be mutual, that you have to agree, that’s why it’s a deal. That’s how it’s made. But the terms aren’t fair. I think that’s what the whole ‘hubris’ thing is about. These people he goes to, they’re willing to give anything in exchange for what he’s offering. He wants their souls in return, and that’s what he gets, I think. He consumes them. For what? I don’t know.
And I keep thinking about that. About my power. How I cannn m-make people do things. I don’t even have to mean it; it just happens, sometimes, if I’m not trying my best to keep it in check. I don’t need people to agree to get them to do what I want. They just… do it.
Seeking without searching is like… I don’t know, these people are asking a question without hoping for an answer, making a request they are sure won’t be fulfilled, and that’s when he finds them.
But me? People don’t need to ask. Whether they have questions or requests, or not, it’s like. They have no choice, not even a pretend one. They don’t even get to throw the loaded die. They’re already cast as soon as I say the words.
SAM: How can you say me and the Man in the Flat Cap are different in other ways too when you know so little about him?
REVEL: Meep. Mrrp.
SAM: Apples aren’t the only things that fall from trees? What’s that supposed to mean?
[REVEL JUMPS LIGHTLY ONTO THE RECORDING DESK AND KNOCKS THE TAROT CARDS DOWN WITH A THUD]
SAM: The True Arcanist Deck…
SAM: But. I don’t know how to read these cards. I can’t interpret them. I don’t know what they’re saying.
[REVEL’S PURRING STOPS]
SAM: Alright, alright. Fine. I’ll ask.
[SAM TAKES A DEEP BREATH]
Tell me– Tell how the o—
[SAM’S BREATH CATCHES]
Tell me how me and the One Who Walks Here and There are the same.
[WIND HOWLS SUDDENLY]
[SAM BREATHES HEAVILY]
A blank card. No!!
They’re blank, they’re all blank I, what, what is this? What? I—
[THE WIND FALLS AWAY A LITTLE]
[THE PHONE CONTINUES TO RING]
[AS SAM LIFTS IT FROM THE RECEIVER, THE WIND FALLS AWAY]
[WATER DRIPS DISTANTLY]
[MYSTERY’S VOICE BEGINS INDISTINCT]
MYSTERY: Sam? Hello?
MYSTERY: You’re alright.
SAM: Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Wha– you sound, worried. Did something happen? I…
MYSTERY: We felt it.
SAM: You felt what?
MYSTERY: Like a stone dropped into the pond of the arcane. What did you just do?
SAM: I– nothing. Nothing at all. It was just a… I was trying to read the True Arcanist Tarot.
MYSTERY: You asked about the Faceless Man. The Wanderer. He Who Walks Here and There.
SAM: The— the man with no face, he’s. The man in the flat cap and shell suit?
MYSTERY: The Arcane One.
SAM: Gods, he’s got so many titles, I can’t. It’s hard to keep up. Uh… You said you were a friend of Madame Marie’s, right?
MYSTERY: As much as she had friends, yes.
SAM: How did… this happen to you? How did you get stuck wherever you are?
MYSTERY: Everywhere and nowhere. The space between all things. The nothing that makes up the most of every atom. Infinitesimally small. Incomprehensibly large. Everything, nothing. Existent and not at all.
SAM: Yes, but, how did you get there?
MYSTERY: There is no here.
SAM: Okay. Um. But. Whatever state this is you’re currently occupying, how did it happen?
MYSTERY: Madame Marie brought you to me. She said you had the gift, and for a price, I could be suspended.
SAM: Suspended at the moment of death?
SAM: Why would you ask for that to happen? The only person I really know who’s gone through that is pretty unhappy about it.
SAM: Yeah, that’s what he says too. But there’s more to it than that.
MYSTERY: I was dying. Madame Marie told me you could stop it from happening. But you could not.
SAM: But you said there was water. You said you drowned.
MYSTERY: I did. The deal was made long before the deed itself.
SAM: Did you… was the drowning deliberate?
MYSTERY: No. It was an accident. I think that’s why I am so much less, now. Less than others here.
SAM: Oh. So. How did that, you know… come about?
MYSTERY: I don’t recall, not entirely. I was dying for a long time. I think. That night, I was driving.
[A CAR SPEEDING]
I should not have been behind the wheel. I was too sick.
[CAR SLOWS, INDICATOR CLICKS]
But there was somewhere I had to go, a place I needed to be.
[CAR REVS AND SPEEDS AGAIN]
I was desperate. And then, the car.
[SLAM AND CRASH]
And then, just flashes.
[WATER RIPPLES, RISING MAGIC HUM]
Headlights through the dark water.
Fish, swimming, panicked.
[MORE IMMEDIATE STRUGGLING, THE HUM AND THE RUSH OF WATER GETTING LOUDER AND LOUDER]
Dark clouds. Blood, I think. And then.
[A THIN GUST OF WIND, AS THOUGH AROUND THE EDGE OF A DOOR]
A tearing, ripping, wrenching. Not violence like mortals know it, something else.
[THE WATER, THE HUM AND THE WIND EASES AWAY]
And then this nothing. And you.
SAM: Gods, it sounds horrible.
MYSTERY: For me, it’s nothing at all.
SAM: Oh. Well. That’s good? Right?
MYSTERY: It’s nothing at all.
SAM: Right. Um. But the deal. You said you made a deal?
MYSTERY: It’s blurry. It’s full of holes. I remember you, a small boy, blue eyed. You could do incredible things. She gave you my blood, I think. Words were said, sigils drawn, bonds made. But you were so young, you couldn’t make sense of the words. Perhaps that’s why.
SAM: Why what?
MYSTERY: It didn’t work.
SAM: Oh. Right. I’m sorry.
MYSTERY: You were a child. And it is nothing at all. A ripple across a still pool.
SAM: Okay. I’m still sorry.
MYSTERY: It’s nothing at all. Ghost Maker, Heir Apparent to the Blood Rose Crown, Dauphin of this fresh hell and its future dominion…
SAM: You can go, if you like.
MYSTERY: Thank you, Sam.
Oh my gods… the cards. They aren’t blank anymore.
[THE SOUNDS OF CARDS SWIPING OVER ONE ANOTHER]
OW! Ow, it, oh. I cut my finger but. It’s fine. This card. The skull with the crown. I’ve drawn it before. But.
[HIS BREATH STUTTERS]
It’s me, isn’t it?
What did M make me do? What did she make me do? I–
What am I?
[WIND STOPS ABRUPTLY]
These cards, this deck, it’s all. I don’t want it, none of it. It’s not good, I just can’t. I can’t and I won’t.
[SOUNDS OF RUMMAGING]
Burn, you fuckers.
[A LIGHTER FLICKS]
[A WHOOSH OF FLAMES CATCHING]
[A SOUND THAT COULD BE STRANGE WIND, OR DISTANT, WASHED OUT SCREAMS]
[THE BURNING FADES AWAY]
What? No. No! Don’t go out, burn, BURN!
Why won’t you burn.
Ah, oh, no my nose—
SAM: Sorry, darling. I’m sorry.
Dauphin of this fresh hell and all its dominions, huh? Guess that’s another nickname we have to add to the list.
Ugh, I think I need to go to bed. Come on, Revel. Goodnight, Faithful Listeners.