HFTH - Episode 47 - Regrets


Content Warning: This episode may include themes of Abuse, Animal Death, Violence, Death + Injury, Blood, Sexism and Misogyny, Transphobia, Homophobia, Birds, Guns, Misgendering, Emotional Manipulation, Body horror, Religious Violence, Evangelism, Character Death, House Fires



Intro - Almost Isaac

You are many things—a musician, a woodworker, and a man who walks with god. Today, you are also a father. You feel a strange emotion as you hold your child for the first time, and you realize it is not love, or elation. You are relieved that you have finally made a family, like every man should.


“Isaac,” you say, brushing the newborn’s forehead.


“It is a girl,” your wife says. “Her name is Persephone.”


It is not a biblical name, but you do not protest. How can you, when you look on that barely formed face? Persephone will do. The world outside the hospital is black, a morning not yet graced by the sun. There are only stars, and they twinkle in the heavens like spirits, and the song on their lips is Hello From The Hallowoods.


Theme.


Right now I’m standing in a battlefield, not for the first or last time I suspect. This was once the cultivated yard of Solomon Reed, but his house is ablaze, his garden beds are trampled, and at the far end of the yard the Instrumentalist himself fights for his life. The theme of tonight’s episode is Regrets.



Story 1 - To Good Places

Diggory Graves stared into the flames, and was not afraid. The blast had swept outwards like a forest fire, shattering every window and setting the sunflowers ablaze The rain had vanished, and the house had no hope of salvation as the roof began to collapse in a gust of embers.


Solomon gathered his instruments with a sweep of his arm, and they circled around him like vultures as he went flying from the house into the backyard. Diggory’s ears were stuffed with wax pellets, however, and if there was music they could barely hear it.


From the blaze, a singular figure stepped out of the door, and danced up into the sky with fire beneath his feet. His suit of silky florals shone in the blazing light, and flaming horns burned on his forehead. Two other figures emerged from the door, a huge wolf and a towering metal suit with a glass dome followed him.


“Promise me you’ll come back,” a beautiful voice was saying, and Diggory was somewhere, and someone, else.


“I promise,” she replied, and kissed her wife, and hoped it wasn’t the last time. Cindy nodded, and called up to the deck.


“Take good care of her, Barty!”


“I will, miss Lockheart, don’t you worry!” a large voice replied. Rizwana looked up to find the big sailor leaning on the ship rail above them. Behind him, a crane deposited the submersible suit; it gleamed as red as a cocktail cherry in the morning light.


“Don’t sleep, Diggory, not now,” Percy said, and Diggory realized they were staring into the ghost’s eyes. Diggory had not fallen over, at least.


“I’m not. I’m alright,” Diggory said, and watched the metal giant disappear into the smoke. “You were brave, talking to your father like that.”


“Thank you,” Percy said. “I had to try. Where is Riot?”


Diggory looked around, but she was no longer by their side. “Oh dear. Did she go into the house?”


They both looked up at the flaming building. Diggory dashed quickly around the side of the garage, looking for any sign of her, and removing the pellets from their ears. The house had set most of the topiary ablaze, and the roof creaked as another portion fell in. The entire yard had begun to fill with smoke, closed in by an impenetrable wall of trees, and the sky above was lost in the haze.


“Riot?” Diggory called, and froze as they reached the back of the garage. Six stitched faces stared up at theirs, and six pairs of pale eyes regarded them calmly.


“What are you doing?” Diggory said. “Are you alright?”


“Scrubbs is having a moment,” said the one named Leyland. “It is good to see you, Diggory Graves.”


“We are not alright,” said one that Diggory had not been introduced to. They assumed it was Scrubbs; there was a stitch across each of their cheeks. “We don’t know what to do now. This is all your fault.”


“My fault?” Diggory asked, kneeling down. Each of the other creations wore an ill-fitting red coat with tarnished buttons. “What have I done?”


“Nothing,” said Leyland.


“You have given Leyland ideas,” Scrubbs cried.


“And now we have no bell,” a dour-looking person said.


“We can make our own decisions now,” one who was twice Diggory’s size said.

“But we have not done this before,” said one as thin as a skeleton.


“Just give us a little time,” a round, kind-looking face said.


“Yes, exactly,” Leyland finished.


From the distance, Diggory heard a sound, and if they had a heart it would have withered instantly—the tones of a bell, ringing in the fog.


Diggory did not collapse, neither did their vision grow white. They looked to the others, but the rest had not risen or spread their sharp fingers. There was a crunch of falling debris from the garage behind them.


“We replaced the bell,” Scrubbs wailed. “Just tell us where you buried it, Leyland. This is not right.”


“It is right,” Leyland said, and crossed their arms. The wrong bell rang again, more frantic. “We will not need it any more.”


“Yes,” Diggory said. “You have all been forced to serve Solomon for a long time, I know—but now you may do as you like. No more makers, no more masters.”


“We don’t know where to start,” Leyland said. “We are not brave like you.”


Diggory smiled. They would have once wondered if it was an ugly sight, but there were others here who looked like them, and Diggory could find no imperfection in their frightened faces.


“I am not brave,” Diggory said. “I am often afraid. But I walk. And I follow my… heart? Or a feeling that lives there. I am not sure if that is the right word. But it has brought me to good places. To Percy.”


Diggory noticed Percy floating nearby in the smoke, gazing out to the back of the yard. “And to the Scoutpost. And to many more good things in the future, I am sure. If you do not know yet where you want to go, will you come with me?”


The others watched Diggory for a moment, eyes glowing in the red haze of the fire, and one by one they nodded.


“That would be good,” Leyland said.


“Yes, I think it would,” Diggory replied. “Get out of this fire. Follow the people with the yellow jackets when they leave. Percy and I must go face Solomon.”


The others rose like specters, and streamed into the smoke, disappearing into the shadows.


“Are you ready?” Diggory whispered. There were horrible shouts and growls from the yard beyond them.


“Not at all,” Percy said. “Let’s go.”




Interlude 1 - Trees Out Of Time

It is a morning of change in the Hallowoods, dreamers. A pillar of fire burns in the central woods, and the ward around the Instrumentalist’s house has weakened to the breaking point, and all of the Scoutpost and any friend of Walter Pensive’s have rallied for a final fight.


These woods themselves are a testament—one world transforming into another, a forest where life and death meet. Life, captured in these soft round faces and weary hearts and weathered hands, standing together to save their friends and family.


Death, in the North, beneath strange stars, spirit and harvest and oblivion given shape, mountains beyond space and trees out of time. And yet, for all that lives in this twilight region of the world, and even for myself, a wandering vision, this is home.


We go now to one destroying a home.



Story 2 - Hide And Seek

Riot planted her boot in the door again, and it opened with a crack, fragments of wood falling clattering down the stairs. Solomon was on the roof; she’d have to find a way up there, but she needed to do this first. She needed to know.


“Clara?” she called. Percy had been clear; Clara was alive, but the girl she’d known would never help a man like Solomon. She’d been through the other rooms on the floor; a small kitchen, a creepy living room with books from the floor to the ceiling, a room full of boxes and tarps. This little stone staircase leading into darkness seemed like the right place to look, though. She steeled herself, gripped the hilt of Walt’s sword tight, and stepped into the shadow.


It was cool down here, despite the heat of the house above, but completely dark. She fished a flashlight from her pocket and clicked it on, and had to bite back a sob.


“Of course he has a murder dungeon. An actual murder dungeon,” she said.


There was a worktable in the middle of the room with gleaming knives and saws in neat rows, and loops of wire hanging from a pipe on the ceiling, and on the far side of the room a large cabinet that was a little freaky to look at. She bounced her light across it several times; it was hard to tell if it was changing each time she looked at it, or just the shadows.


She looked around, but the walls were empty. Pegs for guitars and violins, racks for a whole orchestra jutted from the walls like broken teeth.


“Hello,” a quiet voice whispered, and Riot leaped back in surprise, almost cleaving a stranger with her sword. It was a kid, she realized, glowing like a flashlight. He didn’t have any skin, and she could see the wall through his transparent, lidless eyes.


“Are you nice or are you scary?” Riot said, holding the sword between them.


“I’m not scary,” the boy said, and waved with a bony little hand. Adorable, also terrifying. “I’m Al.”


“I’m Riot,” she said. “I’m going to put the sword down, and you’re not going to eat my face or something—do we have a deal?”


“Why would I eat your face?”


“I don’t know, buddy, you’re the ghost here.”


“Do you want to play a game?” The boy bounced on his heels.


“Oh jeez,” Riot said. “It’s terrifying when you ask things like that, you know that right? I don’t have time for a game right now. I’m looking for someone.”


“Like hide and seek?”


“Uh. Kinda. Hey, have you seen this girl—around my age—with glasses, big poofy hair, maybe a ghost dog?”


The boy scanned the walls suspiciously. “If I tell, will you keep it a secret? I’m not supposed to go upstairs.”


“Sure. Yeah. My lips are zipped.”


The boy drifted closer to her, crumpled toes a few inches up from the floor. She realized there were straps coming off of his clothes like Percy’s strings, and they led back to a little toy drum tucked under the desk.


“I saw her,” Al whispered, and Riot grit her teeth. “Upstairs. She helps the bad man.”


Riot gripped her sword tight, and tried to clear her throat so she wouldn’t choke on her own emotions. What could Clara do to help Solomon? Was she being forced to? Don’t worry, Clara, Riot thought. I’m here. I’ll find you.


“Thanks, kid.”


“I’m not a kid, I’m eleven,” Al huffed. “Would you take me with you? All my friends are gone now. I don’t like being alone.”


“Oh. Okay,” Riot breathed. She had no desire to get closer to the nightmare child, but she tried to think of what Walt would say. There was a sound from upstairs, and voices she didn’t recognize. “Let’s get you outta here.”


She picked up the drum by the desk; it was wrapped in a paper crown with Al’s name on it. She slung the leather straps over one shoulder. “Alright, Al, let’s roll.”


There was a burst of bright light and a deafening roar from above her, and Riot fell backwards as a wave of fire rolled down the basement steps, sputtering into the air. She ducked behind the worktable until her vision adjusted. It was becoming uncomfortably warm, and as she looked up the stairs she realized the hallway above was on fire, pictures dropping to the ground and flame eating up the wallpaper.


“Damn,” Riot said.


“That’s a bad word,” Al whispered.


“Get ready for worse,” Riot replied, and hefted the drum. There was a crash from upstairs. She had to get out of here. She counted to three, nodded, and dashed up the stairs into the burning hallway, sword raised. The whole front door was missing as if something huge had walked through it; fire wreathed the old man’s shelves and desks and armchairs, and pictures of his depressing family smoldered beneath her boots.


Riot stopped, which was a terrible thing to do in the middle of a burning building.


But in the center of the blaze in the living room, hovering with a broom beneath her and a heavy bag on her side, and a black cape billowing in the embers, too beautiful for words, was Clara.



Marketing - Perfect Smile

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Story 2, Continued - Hide And Seek

Yes. Excellent.

We return now to Riot Maidstone.


Riot wondered for a moment if she had become a ghost, because her heart wasn’t beating. THen it was all in a rush, pounding in her chest, and she lowered her sword.


“Clara?”


“Riot!” Clara cried, and there was a creak from above them as the timbers of the ceiling cracked, and debris began to pour down into the room. There was a blur of motion as Clara whipped through the air, grabbing Riot by her belt, and Riot found herself yanked through the hallway and out the back door. Riot fell to her knees in the charred grass, laying her sword down carefully by her side, and Clara’s arms were around her immediately, and Riot breathed in honey, holding her tight.


“I thought you were dead,” Riot sobbed, and almost kissed her, but paused. Figures shifted in the smoke, now a red glow that filled the world around her. “People keep saying you work for Solomon.”


“No,” Clara said, fire gleaming in her wide brown eyes. “I needed to learn what happened to you. Where did you go? Who are all these people?”


“I was looking for you!” Riot said. “You weren’t in our meeting spot. Also is that just like, a flying broomstick? For real?”


“I waited for weeks,” Clara said. “I thought the Instrumentalist got you. Why do you have a sword?”


Riot wondered if she had forgotten what Clara’s face looked like—or if there was something different about her. She was beautiful, but there was a softness missing from her eyes. But she was alive. She was okay. Thank god she was okay. Riot’s hands shook. Could you die from happiness?


There was a flash of fire in the smoke beyond them, and the swell of Solomon’s orchestra pounded in the base of Riot’s skull.


“We can talk about this later, okay?” Riot said. “I’m here to kill him.”


“Okay,” Clara nodded, and fixed her glasses. “I’ll help.”


Riot rose to her feet, shouldering the toy drum, and twirled her sword. Beside her, Clara lifted off the ground with her broom, and Riot caught a familiar smell of dog in the air.


The sky, then, began to glow. The first light of the morning, reaching the top of the wall of trees and illuminating the yard. Riot could barely see ahead of her, but in the sky above, silhouetted by the sun, was a huge pair of antlers and sharp ears, and a creature shrieked too high for her to hear.


Riot recognized it from the pages of Walt’s journal, though she had never seen a Wandering Night-Gaunt in person. She squinted. She could almost make out a woman standing on one of its antlers, with a black hood and flowing clothes, lifting a curved sword into the morning.


The beast lifted a huge hand, as if to say hello, and then began to climb over the wall of trees. Riot ran forward, Clara by her side. Others flashed by in the smoke around her—angry wisps of electricity, wounded scouts and the glowing antlers of the Solar Stag. She swore for a moment she saw Zorgelleck. The music seemed to grow louder with every step, until she could barely hear herself think. Percussion. Wind. String. Death.


And then he was there, and Riot readied her sword. Ahead of her, Solomon was backed against the wall of trees, and the black roots and branches seemed to reach for him as he moved. His orchestra floated in the air around him, and there was a cascade of trumpets as he lifted his conductor’s wand and drove a few dismal spirits into a huge wolf; Riot dropped to the ground as the beast went rolling back past her.


Solomon made a sweeping motion and tried to pull himself into the air, but there was another figure then—one Riot didn’t recognize from Walt’s almanac. It had horns that burned like fire, and it lifted a cane, and a bolt of flame hurtled into Solomon. The old man was knocked off his feet, sliding across the grass.


This is it, Riot thought. Now is my moment.


She looked at Clara a last time, and smiled, and ran into battle.


Solomon pushed himself up from the ground with more energy than she’d expect, an injured animal. He looked at her as she approached, the fire glowing in his cracked glasses, calm hatred beneath his furrowed brows.


“You,” he laughed, brushing off his coat. “Is this all your doing? I thought you were a thorn, but you are, well... a sword.”


“You bet I am!” Riot screamed, and lifted her blade as she dashed towards Solomon.


Solomon watched her approach, and flicked his wrist. A shining woman with tuning pegs in her forehead sailed out of the shadow, and fell upon Riot. Burning fingers scrabbled at her eyes, and Riot twisted her blade in a panic.


There was an odd resistance as the blade sank into the spirit’s chest, and the ghost seemed to choke, frozen in the air.


“I’m sorry,” Riot whispered, and yanked the sword free. The woman was gone as Riot rolled to her feet, just in time to notice a second spirit racing for Clara.


“Clara, look out!”


Clara raised a hand, and a man whose skin was carved with sheet music stopped in the air as if he’d hit a wall. Clara seemed to look into his eyes for a moment, and then he too was gone into the smoke.


Riot watched in awe, and turned to find Solomon looking at Clara.


“Apprentice, that is the girl,” he said, and pointed at Riot. “Take her. They will cease their attack for her, I expect. Then we will have the moment, and…”


Clara turned to glare at Solomon, and pointed.


“Dogsmell? Get him.”


Riot saw as much as she’d ever seen of the dog, then, a pointed face and abyssal eyes and fur that crackled with light. The dog burst from the air like lightning, racing towards Solomon. Solomon raised his wand, and suddenly the smoke around them seemed to glow, and a spirit collided with the dog, sending it off into the wall of trees.


The white smoke around them shone not with the morning light, but spirits, Riot realized, Solomon’s horde regrouping around him. Just as many as there had been at the start. How many fights had he been directing this whole time?


“Allow me to show you, then, what a master of spirits can do,” he said.


Clara was in the air when Riot looked back at her, and there was nothing for it. Riot sprinted towards Solomon, Walt’s sword at the ready, hoping to outrun the orchestra.


Solomon smiled, and his arm fell, and the music converged on Riot from every direction as she dashed the last few yards. Spirits burning so bright they were blinding, fingers like needles and eyes like grief. Riot turned with her sword, trying to keep the swarm at bay…


And backed into something very large behind her.


It was a huge metal suit of some kind, and it looked down. A skull with burning green eyes like Democracy bubbled in a glass dome of black water; one of its hands was a claw the size of Riot.


“Will you be my friend?” it asked.


“Uh,” Riot said. “Yes?”


The titan threw out a hand and caught an incoming ghost by the head, and the ghost writhed in its grasp. The giant turned the spirit, and carefully snipped its strings with its claw, releasing it to the sky like a wayward moth.


“Thank you,” said Riot.


“No problem,” the giant said. “I’m Mort.”


The ghosts were a wall of their own, then, twisted forms blending into each other as they closed in on Riot. She caught another in the chest with her blade, driving it back with a clumsy swing.


Mort stomped ahead of her, backhanding a glowing man and catching another specter in the air with his claw, slicing it in half. Riot shuddered.


Beyond, Riot could see Solomon conducting the crowd. Instruments buzzed in the air around him like wasps, bows drew back on ethereal strings, trumpets shrieked as death came for the Scoutpost.


A huge black shape went sailing over Riot’s head, and the wolf collided with Solomon, pinning him to the ground. He roared, and the music took a wild tilt as spirits swept back towards him, blanketing the wolf in piercing light, prying her away from the old man.


Solomon rolled to his feet with the dexterity of a dancer, and raised his hand, and his voice was as loud as the music in Riot’s ears.


“Look at you all, come here to rail against death. We live now in the Great Tribulation, and yet you stand with the devil to curse god one last time? No more. His will be done, on earth as in heaven.”


Behind Solomon, lighting up the darkness of the tree wall, was the devil himself, horns flickering with fire and a smile on his face.


Riot gulped. I hope I don’t have to fight him too, she thought.


Then the devil twirled his cane, and raised it, and the music in Riot’s head was agony as Solomon’s instruments were set on fire all at once, and began to drop out of the air.


Solomon cried out, and as the Devil danced away Solomon whirled around, and Riot realized that Diggory Graves was standing beside her.


Riot stepped forward, sword in her hand, Clara hovering at her left and Diggory at her right, as dark and deadly as the night itself.


It was time to finish this.



Interlude 2 - Heavy

Things are coming to an end in our little forest, dreamers. Have you enjoyed the nightmares so far? It’s too early still to tell you why I’ve been sharing them, but I think it’s gone well over these last months. And I… Well.


...It’s heavy.


...It’s heavy to be here, in this place.


Does that make sense?


That even in the act of remembering someone, it is difficult to be reminded of them. I share these echoes of humanity, fading out into extinction and the red dawn for a friend who I wish had lived longer. If you’ve never had a friend who is a human, it will be the most pleasant few moments of your life you might know. But then it’s back to being alone.


And of course, he is here too.


His memory, really.


A heart beats in the north, but it is devoid of life. A mechanism to spin the wheel of ages one last defiant time. His blood is in these waters and in the sap of these black pines. Echoes of his song I hear in the frogs and thrushes, the sharpwing crickets and the Night-Gaunt’s cry. The stars above this place are the stars of his world.


I wish I could forget.


Just blot out a few million years. Wouldn’t that make things easier? Maybe then I’d be able to sleep, like so many of you do, dreamers. But I can’t forget, dreamers, and I can’t fall asleep. Because I have lost him once, but if I disappeared into the fathomless millennia, let myself drift, nestled inside a black hole and let the universe pass me by, I would lose even his memory, a second death.


What did I do wrong?


There must have been some way to make things right. Maybe if I had insisted he stay, that he put away his projects for a while. Or if I had gone with him...


I am sorry, dreamers. I can’t get distracted now. Not now.


We go now to one who has a complicated relationship with grief.



Story 3 - Quiet Is Good

Percy watched in awe, and the smoke was red as the fire and white as the morning light. Solomon’s instruments were torches, an orchestra aflame, and Percy’s fellow victims screamed for joy as their bindings disappeared, and they fell one by one into the sky.


Yes, he thought. Today we are all free. Ahead, Solomon whipped off his coat, trying to extinguish the fire around a violin. But he was out of time, now, and faces familiar and strange gathered around him.


Diggory, a hand outstretched for Percy’s. Riot, and her girl Clara who apparently was content to watch Solomon struggle. In the smoke, a gigantic wolf, a death robot, an actual demon. Percy had dreamed many times about the devil, but never that he’d be so well-dressed.


Bern was emerging from the smoke on the other side, and Hector with his dogs, and a terrifying moose the size of a house was clawing its way over the wall of trees. But Solomon cast his coat down in disgust, and flung away his conductor’s wand. The rest of the instruments collapsed to the ground as he did so, and when he looked up, he did not look to scout or wolf or undead.


He looked to Percy, and there was a pained look in his eyes.


“You must hate me, daughter, that you would conspire with my enemies against me,” he said. The circle was closing in, and his army of tortured souls was disappearing like the rapture as the fires burned.


Percy choked. What could he say? Was he okay with this? He buried his face in Diggory’s shoulder as the Demon raised his cane, and a dozen flaming spears appeared in the air, arcing towards his father.


“This is for my umbrella!”


Solomon cried out, and stumbled back, glancing again at Percy and Diggory. He pulled a bell from his pocket and let it ring, but the tone was not the silvery peal that had felled Diggory before.


“My siblings and I do not answer to you anymore,” Diggory said, stepping closer, sharp fingers flickering thoughtfully. “You have hurt Percy most deeply. You killed my maker. And you have been a cruel master and a worse father.”


“This is for Walt!” Riot screamed, hurtling past them with her sword raised, the first of the circle to strike.


She brought it down in a wide swing, and Solomon dodged, green light flashing in his eyes as he contorted out of the way of the blade.


“Worry not,” Solomon said, and pulled the little bone fife from his vest. “You’ll see him soon.”


“Hit him, Mort,” the devil said. And Mort did. The giant lunged forward with frightening speed, and a single blow sent Solomon careening back into the wall of trees. He was suspended there for a second, roots grasping at his red vest, before he fell to the ground. Solomon’s head snapped up, and he spat as blood poured down his forehead. His glasses landed by Diggory’s feet, both lenses shattered now.


Riot went charging for him again, but Solomon plucked the fife up from the ground, and blew a sharp, clear note. Behind them, Bern and Hector winced as if injured, weapons trained on Solomon.


In the center of the circle, Percy’s mother appeared, an avenging angel with cruel and terrible eyes.


“Kill them all, my dear,” Solomon whispered.


Clara held up her hands, but Percy went floating up first.


“Mom,” he said.


She looked at him, or at the horizon behind him, he was never sure. Without blinking, she turned to face Solomon.


“Abigail,” Solomon said, seeming to struggle to stay on his feet. “What are you doing?”


She stood, still as winter frost, and Percy put his hand in the same space as hers, fingertips shining together.


“I am your husband. Your father. You owe me everything,” Solomon roared, and there was the sound of a gunshot then.


Solomon looked down, and the white shirt beneath his vest was turning a violent crimson, like ink seeping into paper. The green in his eyes seemed to flash out, and the years to catch up with him suddenly. He was old, as frail as a skeleton, a relic out of time.


“Why have you forsaken me,” he whispered, and collapsed to the charred earth.


Behind him, Zelda lowered her shotgun.


“You were supposed to stay home,” Riot yelled.


“Nobody messes with Zelda,” the old woman nodded, and leaned on her gun.


Diggory approached slowly, and Percy went with them.


Solomon had fallen on his back, surrounded by the smoldering remains of his instruments, and his glazed eyes stared up at the sky. The others kept a little distance, and Percy went to sit by his father’s head. Solomon’s breaths were shallow, words barely formed on his lips. A small locket with a pair of praying hands rose and fell ever so slightly on his chest.


“I’m so sorry,” Percy whispered, and the tears burned freely on his face, sizzling in the dirt. He put a hand on his father’s forehead, although he knew Solomon could not feel it.


“It’s quiet,” Solomon whispered, blood dripping into his eyes. “Why is it so quiet? There were supposed to be trumpets. Harp song. But it is quiet.”


“Sometimes quiet is good,” Percy said.


“Who’s there?” Solomon turned his head, staring straight through Percy, blank eyes searching for light.


“I’m Percy. I’m your son.”


“Oh,” Solomon said, and leaned back, closing his eyes. “Good. I always wanted a son.”


Solomon Reed breathed out, and was no more. Percy sobbed, and felt Diggory put their arms around him, and he cried into their jacket. Beyond them, the roof of the Reed House caved in to the flames, and there was a resounding crack as the wall of trees lurched inwards, and a red sun burned bright in the morning sky.



Outro - Regrets

Regrets. It is strange, isn’t it, how much time we spend wishing our stories had been different. But the ink is already dry, the writing burned forever into the walls of our hearts, and we have only the blank pages of tomorrow to create.


And still, we weep for our old chapters, for the journeys we might have walked, the safety of what used to be.


I wish for you, dreamer, a life without regrets, and that begins today. I wish you peace when you wake in the morning, and the knowledge that although the future is terrifying, it belongs only to you.


Full of regrets, and memories, and eyes, I am your loyal host, Nikignik, waiting somberly for your return to the Hallowoods.



The bonus story that goes with this episode is called 'Break Me', and is available on the Hello From The Hallowoods Patreon. Consider joining for access to all the show's bonus stories, behind-the-scenes and more!