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- Spoilers and mentions of death!
Hello folks! It’s the creator of the show Eira here! You’re about to hear a collection of letters written by listeners of the show just like you. The names of the letters’ authors will be listed in the show notes. I hope you enjoy them.
LETTER NUMBER ONE:
The Dear Magpie writing event is running for the second time! You can send a letter into the show and it will be read in a special EAK. This year the theme is Yuletide Spookies. You can write your letter about anything you want, it just has to be addressed to Sam (or some other show character if you like!) and signed off by a non-canon character. You can use your own name or a made up one, either way it’s fine! Closing date is next Wednesday, the 30th of November 2022.
Your letters can be as short as you like but no longer than 2000 words. Dear Magpie isn’t a competition and we’ll read as many entries which comply with the rules as we can. You can find a full list of info at hangingslothstudios.com/dear-magpie along with the submission form. Only entries sent through this form will be considered. I look forward to hearing back from you!
The second thing is that I’ve decided I’ll just be going by my middle name now, so you’ll see the sign offs and credits changing to Eira Major. I’m still the same me! Do not be alarmed.
It’s five weeks to go now until Season Three launches and I’m starting to get excited!
Dear Magpie 2022: Yuletide Spookies Pt.1
Hello folks! It’s creator of the show, Eira, here! You’re about to hear a collection of letters written by listeners of the show just like you. The names of the letters’ authors will be listed in the show notes. I hope you enjoy them!
Christmas has always been a weird time for me. I know it’s meant to be the ‘most magical time of the year’, and I get that it is for most people, but I can’t get into it at all. All throughout my childhood, I thought there was a deep and uncrossable distance between how I felt inside, and how all the other children seemed opening their presents. Now, as an adult, I just see it as a pile of capitalist consumerism meant to strip working class people of as much of their cash as possible. So, yeah, it’s not the easiest time of year for me.
I live alone in Lyme Regis, which I feel is relevant to understanding what’s been going on with me.
You see, it all started with a strange present. It was getting dark, and the air was cold when I heard a knock at the door. I wasn’t expecting anyone, so unless one of my family members had flown over from abroad to surprise me, I wasn’t sure who it could be.
On opening the door, however, there was no one there. I thought I had been the victim of a ding-dong-ditcher, and was about to head back inside when I noticed the package sitting just off the front step. It was one of those stereotypically ‘Christmas’ gifts. Red and green wrapping paper, a gold bow wrapped around the sides. The tag on it said only ‘To You’, and it was signed ‘The Giver of Gifts’. The gift being left for me was strange enough, but the tag on it only made it more bizarre. I stepped back inside, closing the door after me, and opened it, pulling the wrapping paper off in large swathes.
Inside was a cardboard box. Just a cardboard box. It wasn’t sealed or anything. Just an empty cardboard box, wrapped up and left for me. Now I really felt like I had been the victim of a prank. Or perhaps this was a marketing stunt for some upcoming film I hadn’t heard of. But still, it was weird. I threw the box in the bin along with the tag, and got back to making dinner.
That night, I was woken up by a scratching noise, sort of like a cat raking its claws down a wooden surface. I hadn’t had a cat in years, not since Kage had died, so I was on edge. I turned on the bedroom lights from the switch by the bed and the room flooded with light. There was no one in the room, but still I could hear the sound. A quick peek behind the curtains showed nothing untoward outside. I did a slow check through the rooms of the house, going one by one. At the end, I stood in the hallway, having not found anything that might have made the noise. I felt stupid standing there, all the lights in my house turned on. It’s amazing how unafraid you feel when all the lights are on. I could still hear the noise, but I figured it was an animal outside, or maybe something had come loose on the roof. I could sleep easy. I turned off the lights and headed back to bed.
All that newfound optimism vanished the minute I got back to my room. On the wooden floor of my room, scratched into the wood, were the words ‘Don’t throw away gifts so lightly’. I swear they hadn’t been there when I first got up. I froze, breath coming in shallow fits and starts, my eyes darting around the room like a deer in the headlights. Was this done by the ‘Giver of Gifts’ that signed the label on the box downstairs? Had to be, surely. The chances of two gift related visitations happening to me were slim, but I had thought I was safe in my home up until know, so what did I know?
I ran back downstairs to the bin I had thrown the box into earlier, working on the logic that if I just took the gift back, this would fix the situation. It should have been on the top of the bin, I hadn’t put anything in after the box, but it wasn’t there. I began rifling through the contents, growing more and more desperate when I couldn’t find it. Eventually I upturned the bin, so I could look at all it contained, now spread all over the wooden floorboards, but the box wasn’t there.
The sound of shattering glass drew my attention from the kitchen. I froze once more. Uncertain if I should investigate. Far too often it’s investigating a mysterious noise that kills people in horror movies, and I wanted to avoid that if possible. But at the same time, I felt a dark sort of curiosity welling up inside of me, drawing me towards where the sound had come from. Was I been haunted by some fucked up sort of Santa? I had to know.
There wasn’t anything around that I could use as a weapon, so I tried to look as threatening as possible as I moved into the kitchen. I didn’t know how effective it was, but I was grasping at straws. Inside the kitchen I could feel the cool breeze blowing through my now broken window. I couldn’t see anything among the shards of glass that might have been thrown through the window. I didn’t believe in the supernatural, but I was beginning to. There seemed to be no other explanation. Again, I heard the scraping noise and looked around, trying to find where it came from. Eventually, I saw it, on the wooden countertop by the oven. I stood, transfixed, like someone hypnotised, as the long lines drew themselves. Above the counter, I could see the faint shimmer of a form, like the heat haze that you see above fires. It looked like the vague shape of a person, but it wasn’t definite enough to be certain. When the scratching stopped, the words ‘A Gift Abandoned Cannot Be Regained’. I shuddered, a violent, whole body shudder. This was definitely related to the box I had gotten that morning. I was beginning to despair, why did I throw the box away? But how was I meant to know? The scratching sound didn’t happen again that night, but I was too terrified to sleep. I spent the whole night curled up in the kitchen, jumping at every noise, afraid that whatever had destroyed my window was coming back to get me.
The next day, I got sent home from work because of how tired I was. I kept nearly falling asleep behind the tills. I kept thinking I could hear that scratching sound everywhere, but it would just be the wheel of a trolley scraping against the ground, or a door stuck in the frame. I was literally jumping at shadows, my nerves screaming at me to watch out, that I was in danger. Bill, my manager, called me into the office about halfway through the day and had a very terse conversation with me. Apparently, multiple customers had complained about me throughout the day, thinking I was on drugs or experiencing some kind of severe panic attack. I couldn’t exactly tell Bill to his face that I thought I was being terrorised by a malevolent Santa, so I stayed silent. Bill told me, in as kind a way he could manage, to go home and sort myself out, and not to come back until I’d gotten it figured out. I didn’t tell him that more time at my house, alone with whoever The Giver of Gifts was, was not something that I wanted.
The house was cold and quiet. I hadn’t even thought to call someone to fix my window yet, because of how full my head was, so the breeze still drifted lazily through where once there had been a window. I was glad at least, that the snow hadn’t come, and wouldn’t have to clear up piles of it from the inside of my house. I spent the next couple of hours pacing around the house, not able to sit still with all the adrenaline pumping through my veins. Every time I sat down, I would think that strange hazy figure from last night was standing behind me, and I’d get out of that room as quickly as possible. Sooner rather than later, night came. I was in bed, the covers drawn up under my chin, like a child, although I didn’t at all believe that it would protect me.
At some stage, I must have drifted off, because I suddenly became aware of the hazy figure from the day before standing over my bed. It was still a vague suggestion of a person, but I thought I could make out the shapes of thick, hobnailed boots standing beside the bed. Its face was still a mystery. I asked it what it wanted, how to make up for unintentionally refusing its gift, but it remained as silent as ever. I kept on protesting, asking The Giver of Gifts to tell me what it wanted from me, when I felt its hand over my mouth and nose. It was still like a thin smoke, but I could feel it, this immense coldness over my face, pressing down onto me. And the pressure. At first I could breathe somewhat, but as the pressure increased, I couldn’t take in any more breaths, and I began to thrash and kick violently, trying to escape from the pressure driving all the air from out of my body. It wasn’t working, and the edges of my vision began to blur and darken. Within a minute or two, I had completely blacked out. When I finally came too, groggy and in pain, the strange figure was nowhere to be seen, but gouged into my wall were two words ‘24 Days’.
After that I became a partial recluse, shutting myself up in the rooms of the house, curled into a ball, trying to fight of my unknown attacker, and only going out unless it was for something necessary like groceries. Even during the day, I wasn’t safe from The Giver of Gifts. More and more windows were broken in by unseen hands. Things started to go missing and show up broken hours or days later. I would find messages drawn in flour or dust or mud written across surfaces in my house. One day I found seven dead mice splayed out across the floor, their innards arrayed in unknowable patterns. This reign of terror continued every day. Each morning there would be some fresh, new litany of terrors to deal with. I didn’t even have the sanctuary of sleep to turn to. I could feel myself breaking apart at the seams. My eyes felt like they were glazed with a thin film of fire from not sleeping for so long. My body ached all over. All I wanted to do was rest, to lie down and sleep, but I was afraid the figure would show up more than it normally was.
Every night, it still appears above me, no matter where in the house I am, crushing the breath from my body with its massive hand until I fall unconscious. With each appearance, it’s slowly getting more and more distinct, slowly taking on shape.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Am I supposed to just give up and accept my fate, something I unintentionally earned by refusing the Giver of Gifts’ gift? Is there a way I can fight back or make amends? I’m at my wits’ end. I don’t want to find out what happens when The Giver of Gifts becomes fully real.
Terrified and giftless in Lyme Regis
Regular, and reclusive, listener Max here. I’ve noticed that, throughout your time hosting the show, there’s been a few instances of places, or people, changing thanks to the influence of the arcane, and I’d like to speak a little about what I think might be a mix of the two.
Quite recently, my boyfriend and I moved in together, this being my first time living away from my parents, and I’ve taken to walking around the streets of our new town with my coffee, trying to get to know the area. Well, after only a couple of days, I decided to start taking a notepad, because the streets I kept walking past seemed to have different names. At first I thought I must just be misremembering, but then the name of the street next to mine changed when I walked past it, and I know that street should have been Lumber Street, but instead, it was Fir Avenue. I know, its similar, but all of the changes have been. Bell street to Toll street, Florist’s Hill to Holly Avenue. So, I’ve been taking a note, and as far as I can tell, it’s the same 7 or 8 street names changing, and not consistently. I also think there’s a bit of a theme of the names becoming more seasonal – on top of the earlier examples, Box has become Gift, Sparrow has become Robin, and even Horse became Reindeer.
I haven’t worked up the nerve to ask anyone around the town about it yet, but my boyfriend seems to think the streets are all the same. I was wondering if it sounds like something potentially arcane to you, or if I might still be getting used to my new area? I know I’ve sounded quite confident, but my memory is certainly not the best – I still think there’s something at least a little arcane happening here. Maybe the spirits are putting up decorations in a more unique way around here?
All the best Sam, and I’ll do my best to heed your advice from last year and burn the pentagram when its off the tree.
I’ve wanted to write you for a while now, but life has its ways of messing with plans like that, doesn’t it?
I’ve been a fan of the show for a long while now, nearly two years. It’s quite odd looking back at those times of listening to you try and figure out how to run the show after Madame Marie’s disappearance while I was browsing the radio stations unable to sleep. So much can change in such a little time it is truly amazing.
To think that those people once existed, but not anymore. Because they went through struggles, discovered themselves, found love and overall, just changed. But that’s the thing about change, isn’t it, its never good or bad change it just is and you have to live with the version of yourself that you are.
You inspire me every day to be accepting of that change, that idea that I am who I am no matter what and that there will be people who love me no matter what. Sure, it’s a bit sappy and corny to be saying things like this, but truly. Sam, you, your show, your perseverance, inspire me.
As of writing this, I’m almost one month on HRT. Maybe that’s what’s gotten me so sentimental. Another milestone in the road to becoming my true self. For a while the show was the only thing I ever really looked forward to, and I still do. But there’s something truly magical about having real hope for the future.
I’ve even considered trying my hand at reading tarot or some sort of arcane practices. For all my dedication to the show, I’ve never actually tried anything beyond communicating with the spirit box services. Funny, I know. Cue the big rant a few paragraphs ago about how the show has changed me, but no that one has not budged at all. I’ll give it a shot sooner or later, I’m sure. Crystals are fascinating and I’d love to learn more about them. Maybe I’ll write to you then too.
Thanks for reading my letter. I know its probably a bit all over the place, but I just needed to get it out. Needed to let you know your good impact on not just the people around you. Can’t wait for what comes next.
Patrick E. Gold. (he/him)
Letter One was written by Nigel McKeon. Letter Two was written by Max, now from Newhaven. Letter Three was written by Patrick Elias Gold.