Episode Content Warnings
- Please bear in mind that this show is a work of horror fiction and frequently places characters in situations which jeopardise their psychological and physical health. This episode contains:
- – mild profanity
- – references to sex
- – discussion of the process of dying
- – medicalised descriptions of death processes and dead people
- – death, including violent death
- – references to medical procedures
- – hospital settings
- – mentions of blood
Hello, Pippin, Creator of Spirit Box Radio, here! In a minute you’re going to be hearing a preview of a brand new show, Not Quite Dead, which is a queer vampire horror story! Before that gets going though, if you’re listening to this on Thursday 27th of November, there is ONE DAY left to support the Spirit Box Radio Season Three crowdfunder!! We’re almost at 60% funded at time of writing. Thank you so much to all of you who’ve supported the show so far. Every donation helps, so even if you can only toss a couple of pounds our way, it really means the world. There’s other ways to help out if you can’t afford to donate but would like to support the show in other ways, including voting for us in the audio verse awards!! These are open until Sunday, and there’s a link in the episode notes, or you can just go to audioverseawards.net!
Without further ado, the new show, ‘Not Quite Dead’.
MOMENT OF SILENCE.
ALFIE: Hello, my name is Alfie and I’m not quite dead.
I’m Alfie and if you’re listening to this tape I’m probably dead or. Not quite dead, but in a different kind of way, and. Jesus this all sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?
This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Did I think it would be easy to write my own obituary? Is that was this even is?
Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought before I sat down I just knew I had to say something, leave a little piece of me behind, you know?
So, the basics; I’m Alfie. I used to be an A&E nurse, but now I’m just. Me. I haven’t left my flat in, uh, eight days? I think I’m dying– I know I’m dying. I should be dead already, really but. I’m not. And There’s been a lot going on, honestly, and I just need to say this all now, before I make any decisions, because whatever I choose, I’m dead or undead, and either way I’m pretty sure none of this is going to matter to me so much after that.
Whatever it is that’s happening to me now, it’s important that people know. Not because I’m important, I am really, really not. But this is. So, yeah. If you could just make sure my mum and my sisters don’t hear this tape? That’d be great. Yeah. Anonymise me or whatever. Call me, I dunno, Ben or something. Yeah. Ben. Ha. And Casper can be Bill.
Wait, no there’s already a vampire called Bill, isn’t there. Wasn’t he confederate or something?
Ah, I’m really waffling aren’t I?
Mum always says that I worry too much about whether people like me, she’d say like ‘christ Alfie, you’re picking up your anti-depressants not doing an improv bit’, and I’d be like ‘why not both’.
ALFIE LAUGHS, BUT IT’S SHORT LIVED
Well. Poor Darla the pharmacist won’t have to deal with my terrible customer service stand up routines anymore so there is good to come out of this situation after all.
I think I got this dictaphone to do poetry. God. I will spare you my slam poetry phase, nobody needs that in their life.
God none of this is important and I need to get this out, I need to, and there are only snatches now where I’m awake enough to speak, and I think it’s only going to get worse. So.
I’ve lived in York for almost twenty years, right now I’m twenty nine, and in approximately… four and a half days, when my supply of this… blood runs out, I’m going to either die, or become something… else.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
I need to start at the beginning, so you understand what happened.
And the beginning, for me, was the people with the torn out throats. The first one was the girl on the gurney.
PIPPIN: This is Not Quite Dead, Episode One, the Girl on the Gurney.
MUSIC SPOOKIFIES INTENSELY, AND ENDS
The girl on the gurney came in at half ten on a Saturday night. Saturday night’s a bad time to get hurt, because everyone’s getting hurt on a Saturday night. That night there was a guy down the hall with a rake in his foot, a woman who’s cracked her head on the kerb, two lads getting their lips stitched in triage. We were understaffed. Of the too few people who were actually working, there were three of us that knew the hospital well. Me, Tracy and Haley, the Junior Doctor, Haley.
When the girl on the gurney came in I was on hour sixteen of a twelve hour shift, with lead bones and eyes so wide I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever be able to shut them again. The ragged gash on her neck was unusual but not surprising. I didn’t have the energy for surprise. When we transferred her over from the ambulance gurney to another, she’s cold to the touch, limbs loose, head lolling over the wad of gauze taped to her neck.
Terry, the ambulance guy I’ve known for years, told me that they thought it was a mugging, that she’d been drinking with her friends and got separated, and when they found her, her throat was torn out and she was barely conscious.
I don’t remember what I said in response. It’s not my job to care, not about that. The girl’s eyes were half open. Her hands were clammy, loosely clutched over her chest, satin dress torn to allow for heart monitors. Her blood pressure was through the floor, her oxygen levels no better. Beneath the pad of gauze her wound was jagged and strange, but despite its depth, it was no longer bleeding: the ragged flesh looked grey, and almost dry, but I didn’t have time to think beyond assessing that this wouldn’t be the thing that killed her right away. With trauma, it’s about priorities, and right then what we needed to do was whatever we could to get as much fluid into her system as possible.
She came pre-hooked to IV fluids, ambulance Terry’s work nimble and efficient, as always.
The girl’s breath come heavy and slow. That’s normal when your blood pressure is that low, but it’s not a good sign. When you first start losing blood, your heart beats faster and your breath speeds up; there’s less blood in the system so your body is working extra hard to make sure what it has left is being used as best it can be. When things start to slow down like that, it means your body is running out of steam. It was very clear the girl on the gurney was almost entirely steam-less. She was in shock.
I remember really distinctly was she was lying there, is she looked at me with those half-shut eyes, and she tried to say something, but I don’t know what it was, I couldn’t hear her, so I just smiled and said something generic like ‘we’re going to look after you’, like I would with anyone. She looked me in the eye and it wasn’t acceptance, exactly but it was like… it was like she knew. And then she smiled as best she could, and very slightly shook her head.
Behind me I could hear the junior doctor, Haley, going spare, talking fast about calling the consultant, about booking a surgery suite, about ordering more bloods, more fluids to restock the fridges. And I couldn’t make my body move.
Haley grabbed my arm, waffling still about calling the consultant or whatever, and I looked up from the patient’s half-lidded eyes and Haley just immediately shut up. It felt like we stood there in silence for ages but it was probably only a second or two, really. It was one of those transparent moments where you can see right through to exactly what is going to happen next, but for now you’re just stuck there, knowing, powerless. Haley released her vice grip and swallowed. Her expression was set, drained, and we were both completely still for a second, looking at the girl. I nodded at Haley. She nodded back.
We did everything we could, filled her with fluids, blood, plasma, but she died there, on the gurney, just like Haley and I both knew she would. Hastily fitted IV’s were stopped. Monitors detached. I closed her eyes. Haley performed the slow, arduous task of pronouncing the definitely dead girl dead, and me and the other nurses went back to flitting between the other patients in A&E as best we could. All in it was thirty two minutes since she came through the door.
PIPPIN: Hey folks! I hope you enjoyed that preview of Not Quite Dead. The final fifteen minutes or so of episode one will be live in Not Quite Dead’s brand new feed on Monday, which is Halloween! Episodes will be releasing fortnightly from there up to episode five, after which there will be a short pause in production, but fear not, because SBR S3 will be starting in that pause!! There’s still one day to donate to the crowdfunder if you’re able, and if you’ve five minutes to spare, please vote for Spirit Box Radio in the audioverse awards over on audioverseawards.net.