HFTH - Episode 57 - Edges



Content warnings for this episode include: Abuse, Animal death (Heidi as usual), Death + Injury, Blood, Mental illness, Birds, Gun Mention, Strangulation/suffocation, Emotional Manipulation, Drowning, Bugs, Body horror, Consumption of Inedible Materials



Intro - Daggerhead

You are sharp inside. When you walk, you feel razors shift beneath your ribs; when you speak, they lace your words. Your tongue creates wounds and spills blood and is quick to war. When did you first begin to swallow swords, to fill the walls that surround your heart with weapons? You have become an armory, and you let no one open your doors lest they wish to die.


It is easy to be sharp, and to pierce the eye of anyone who turns their face to you. What lies locked in the box at the center of your murderous shelves? You have been defending it so long you almost forget. But better to drive away with bleeding word every hand that would dare to open it, than to take the key to your chest and find it empty of treasure. It contains only a dagger, the first that ever cut you, and your small black heart, wrapped in silk and softly beating. Hello. From. The. Hallowoods.


Theme.


Right now, I am inside a nest. It is made of twigs and stray pages of books, ribbons and frayed twine. It is a secret place, lost in the shadowed rafters of a library out of space, the border of reality falling into question and disarray. Only two know where to find this odd haven—its trembling inhabitant, whose very life is an answerless question, and myself, much the same. The theme of tonight’s episode is Edges.




Story 1 - A Little Unkindness

The Omen sometimes felt as large as the sky itself, a storm of wings that blotted out the sun. At other times, they felt as small as a single bird, watching the fires burn below, feeling the heat in their feathers. Today, the Omen felt the latter, and nestled together in the liminal space in the roofs of Downing Hill, a hundred birds looking out into the real world from just beyond it.


Was it possible to miss someone you hated, they wondered? They had never missed anyone before. The Director was timeless, and they held only a little disdain for most of the bickering creatures in the Arcane Program, or the snide staff of the library. The world outside was worse, full of loud and unpleasant people, and the Omen administered the consequences of overdue books as a sort of revenge against the noise. And yet, the Library was less interesting without a certain small, smug, and very blue witch.


Olivier Song was a spiteful little bird, and long had the Omen wished that they would fall out of the sky. It was the blatant disregard in Olivier’s face, perhaps, or the veiled insults, or the way that the Director smiled for Olivier when she never smiled for the Omen. It will change, Omen had told themselves many nights in the nest—everyone makes mistakes, and when Olivier plummets I will peck out their eyes, and the Director will see at last who is the greatest servant, and allow me to sit on her shoulder.


Joy, joy the day that Olivier Song had been thrown from the Arcane Program, tossed away from Downing Hill with broken wings, and the Omen had flown triumphant over the forest. After all these years, I am victorious and the most beautiful and the best.


But the Director did not smile in the days to come. The Omen was not welcomed from the shelves to sit at her side. And if anything, she was all the more distant, preoccupied with new business, dead Instrumentalist and missing summer program instructor and a world of spirits. The library was a quieter place now, and even the joy of ambushing Olivier in the halls and plucking at their hair was gone. Even Friday, who sometimes kept shiny objects for them, was missing. Coffin or tomb, coffin or tomb, not a drop to drink.


The Omen felt a tapping—the Director’s fingers on her desk, three stories or a hundred miles below. A little spark of fire still leapt in the Omen’s scattered chest at her summons. The Omen poured out of their nest down into the halls of Downing Hill, and then again through a shadowed space that was deeper every time they returned. The Omen flew through darkness, and the Omen was darkness, an unkindness lit by a fiery heart.


Everyone saw the Director’s office differently, the Omen thought, but in their myriad eyes it was a hollow tree, impossibly empty inside. A desk sat in the center, and the Director like some fastidious worm, eyeless and hungry. The Omen did not dare peel out of the bark without her permission, scuttled and hopped along the shelves.


“What’s missing?” she asked.


“Some pending, none overdue,” the Omen whispered.


“Good,” the Director sighed, and leaned on her desk. She was never as small as she appeared. “What else have you seen on those traipsing flights of yours?”


“The weather warms, white flowers bloom on black marshes. It will soon be summer. Waters rise and bring a plague of frogs,” the Omen said, watching her with too many faces to count. “What remains of Walter Pensive’s collection I may yet acquire. The man on fire who carried the book of the damned has left the forest. And the last of the Instrumentalist’s spirits still shines at the Scoutpost, a little light they squint to see.”


“One of his ghosts is still intact?” the Director said, although she did not turn to face the Omen. Instead she pulled a peppermint from the dish on her desk, and unwrapped it as though peeling the skin from a mouse. “You are sure? This isn’t one of your needless riddles?”


“It is a boy, a child,” the Omen cried, a single bird hopping out from the shelf to nod at the ground. “His spirit dwells in a shiny drum, they protect it, it is true and true.”


“Keep an eye on him,” the Director said. The Omen’s hearts fell in a dozen feathered chests.

“He will not escape my gaze,” the Omen said, and wished that he would. Run, ghost child, into a silver river. Drown and be done with it. Let me rest.


“Which way did the demon go?” the Director asked.


“South,” the Omen said. “I hoped they would visit the library, but they have not.”


“Curious,” the Director said. “Dismissed.”


The Omen hesitated a moment—it was rare that they did not honor her words with instant obedience.


“May I ask a question?” The Omen said, a bird with glittering eyes. “Quick question. Fleet.”


The Director turned in her chair, a shine of half-moon spectacles. Her eyes were black like feathers—not black at all; all swirling purples and greens. Her posture was an answer, and the Omen pooled out of the shadow, birds melting into a shape like hers, wing and claw and beak rendered into hand and foot. They knelt; that was the place of a vassal.


“What is next?” the Omen asked.


“Next?” the Director said. No confusion escaped from her eyes.


“After the watching, and the book-searching, and the overdue-collecting. When your purpose for Downing Hill is complete. When the work is done. What is next?”


“That does not pertain to you,” the Director said, hands folded on her knees.


“Because I will be free?” the Omen said.


“Free?” the Director said, and she smiled. Her teeth were like hungry stars, and for a moment the Omen basked in their light. Smile and light vanished with her next words. “There’s no such thing as freedom, my Omen. We are born either to work or serve. I work. You serve. And when your service is complete, you will be nothing.”


Heavier than a black hole, colder than the arctic, tastes like the original. Nothing. If the Director could see any feeling in the Omen’s amalgamate face, she did not provide the courtesy of a response.


“I understand,” the Omen said, and scattered into the darkness, fleeing through the emptiness as if rising through deep water, sailing for the air above. Nothing! To be nothing at all! Were they not surrounded by books of art and music, students who wore little scarves and sweaters and learned of deep secrets in the earth? Anywhere you looked a life, a passion, an art, but none for the Omen?


They burst through the gravity of Downing Hill and into the sky over the forest, a murmuration echoing over the trees, tumultuous as a thought.


She does not love me, the Omen thought. I never really fought with the blue-haired witch at all. Olivier was a favorite. I am a hammer, hammer, hammer, a knife waiting for ribs to slip through. The Omen gathered into their own mass again, feathered feet hanging high over the forest canopy, and turned their burning eyes to the South, home to drumming ghost and driving devil and, they hoped against reason and grudge and gravity, a very small thunderstorm.



Interlude 1 - Your Own Backyard

Dreamers, some of you are quick to ask me ‘where exactly are the Hallowoods’? My stories of darkened trees remind you of the ancient forests of Appalachia, the mighty remnants of the Pacific Northwest, or even for some of you, your own backyard.


The region named by Walter Pensive lies in North Ontario, past the lakes with their greater blackflies and the lowlands in which the sleepers dwell, but it would never be content to hide its glory so far away. If you stood at the edge of the forest a few hours, you might watch its roots stretch outwards beneath your feet, the rise of new curling vines and underbrush, and the towering pines draw close to reach out with welcoming needles.


Neither are the Hallowoods the only place with black trees, the only forest with strange animals and terrible doorways. The world over has been watered by black rain, caught in the beginning of a new life, and everywhere you look you will see the signs of a changing world. Even in your own backyard.


If you are confused by this, stay clear of the Northmost Hallowoods, for that is the true forest and it can not be pictured on any map, only found if you walk north, space and time and geography warped by a hallowed light.


We go now to one who wants to escape this forest.



Story 2 - Red Sky At Night

“I didn’t like her,” Hector said, shoving a sweater into his bag. “Wouldn’t do business with them. It’s a bad idea.”


“Oh what a surprise,” Jonah said, sitting in a chair by the door. Jackie and Heidi laid on his feet, politely appreciating a scratch behind the ears. “Imagine. Someone you didn’t like.”


Hector glanced Jonah’s way and found a playful glitter in his odd green eyes. He stared grimly for a moment and went back to re-wrapping his dredging hooks.


“What are you doing?” Jonah asked.


“Packing,” Hector said.


“To go where?” Jonah said, and the girls perked up. Heidi’s eyes were blank, questioning orbs.


One dredging line tightly coiled, one to go. Hector grabbed the other line and sat against the bedside, turning to face Jonah.


“South.”


Jonah looked off to the sky for a moment, running his hand through his beard.


“I know that’s not a lie, but I still don’t know what you’re getting at. I thought we were going to wait a while? A few weeks?”


Hector set the coil down, glanced at the dogs. They were judging him, but that was what he did around here. Made the hard decisions. From beyond their room, he could hear a whiff of cello.


“This forest isn’t safe,” he said. “Especially not this place. It’s getting overrun by a swarm of giant frog things. And the old ladies that run this joint are going to siphon out their food and weapons to some complete strangers just because it’s neighbourly. It’s time to go.”


Hector checked the safety on a grenade, and tucked it back in its pouch. A tranquilizer pistol with thirteen rounds—that Elena girl of all people had a few to sell—and a flintlock with one shining bullet. Jonah sat in his chair, brows furrowed.


“Are you leaving without me, Hector?”


Hector felt as though he’d gotten frostbite in his whole body, and stood numb for a moment.


“You can come with me,” he said, tucking in his machete beside the steel trap. “I’d like that.”


“What about ma?” Jonah said, sitting forward. “Hector, have you thought this through?”


“I seem to be the only one thinking things through,” Hector said, zipping the bag shut and turning to Jonah. The dogs stood up, staring at him expectantly. “You want to survive, you watch for when things are about to get ugly and you get out. I’ve got a bad feeling about this place and I don’t want to stick around to find out why. It’s not personal. It’s just what you have to do.”


“Hector, can I ask you a favor?” Jonah said, putting a hand on his shoulder.


“What?” Hector sighed, putting a weathered hand on Jonah’s.


“Come on a walk with me? Just for a little while.”


Hector breathed heavy—there was a small shard of panic lodged in the back of his head, warning signs gathering invisible in the sky above him. And yet, there were those green eyes he could get lost forever in, and a momentary peace in Jonah’s touch.


“Alright. Let’s take a walk.”


He left the bag on the bed, and whistled for the dogs, and followed Jonah into the evening sun, a refrain of the cello echoing in the wind.


Marketing - Silver Square

Lady Ethel:

Welcome back to marketing with Lady Ethel Mallory. Let’s talk today about brand aesthetic. Consumers are not just looking at the words you use to describe yourself—you can say you’re a loving brand, a powerful brand, a trustworthy brand, but everything down to your colors and shapes must speak the same truth.


Look at the classic Botco design elements. The silver square represents foundation. Invulnerability. We are solid, reliable, cannot be moved easily. We are here to fight for our user base. We will last long into the future, and support you for your entire spending life with our company. It also reminds the consumer of our signature product.


The eye in the center represents possibility. Sight within the box, waking up from reality into dream. That Botco is not blind to the world outside, and that we are watchful in who we choose to allow into our Happy Dreaming Family. That we will stand guard for you while you sleep.


The origin of these elements goes back as far as the first drafts by Oswald Biggs Botulus for Botco’s signature products…




Story 2, Continued - Red Sky At Night

A thousand red eyes swirling in a dreamlit darkness. A nebula turning in on itself. A reef deep beneath the ocean where no light travels, where an eyeless fish dreams of the sun. A many-toothed watcher sitting by the gates of the universe, watching stars burn out of the sky. Does my brand imagery inspire trust, dreamer?


We return now to Hector Mendoza.


“It’s me, isn’t it,” Jonah said quietly, as they crossed the forest floor. There was more green than usual encrusting the black bark of the trees, and an expanse of overgrown trunks spread out in every direction, long shadows cast by the sun. “The way I’m changing.”


“It’s not you,” Hector huffed. “It’s really not. I said I’d take it, for better or worse.”


“But now you want to leave me,” Jonah said, looking up.


“I don’t,” Hector said, stopping in his tracks, and glancing across the trail. The dogs sniffed at the base of a twisted spruce. “I just… I don’t understand why you’re dragging your feet. It’s like you don’t want to go.”


“Hector, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say this,” Jonah said, sitting against a tree. Hector steeled himself for something to hurt. “I’m not sure I can go. I feel this place.”


“What do you mean?” Hector said, leaning against a trunk of his own. The dogs perked up, fixed on something in the distance.


“It’s hard to describe,” Jonah said, looking off in confusion. The setting sun refracted green in his eyes. “I know the trees like you’d know an old friend. There’s signs and patterns in the stars when they move. The wind has songs in it that nobody hears. The other place, with the green fire and the tomb and the doors? It’s all around us here. Just out of view, I think. I don’t think I can just walk out of this. I think it lives in me, or it’s growing, or I’m infected somehow. I feel like I’m dying, Hector, and I don't recognize the guy who’s walking in my boots now. Or maybe that I never really came back at all. I don’t know. I’m terrified.”


Jonah’s eyes were wide, and tears rolled into his beard. Hector approached slowly, and sat next to him.


“I don’t know either,” Hector said. “But I believe you. I’ve watched you walk back from death four times now. And every time, I’ve hoped against anything that it wouldn’t be the last time. I know something’s changing for you. I wish I knew more about it, or knew anyone else that did. Because I don’t know how to help you right now.”


Jonah laid his head against Hector’s shoulder, and Hector felt Jonah’s arms wrap around his.


“Just don’t leave,” Jonah whispered. “Please. I love you.”


The words pierced him like a cold knife. A knife he’d seen before, in the hands of parents and siblings he’d never seen again and couples who weren’t going to survive the coming month. They held love in one hand, and crushed your throat with the other. I love you and you owe me. I love you and you can’t leave. I love you and ignore what’s coming.


Hector breathed, and tried not to look at Jonah’s face, and decided not to respond. He wasn’t sure if what he wanted to say would be a lie.


“What are you afraid of?” Jonah continued.


“I don’t know,” Hector said. “I’ve never camped in one place so long. I stay moving. Find salvage, sell, get what I need to carry on. Sit still for too long and I worry that something will catch up with me.”


“Anything in particular?” Jonah said, sitting up again.


“Nothing I could name,” Hector said. Jackie barked at something in the distance; there was a rustle in the underbrush.


“So you’re scared,” Jonah said. “I can understand that.”


“I’m not scared,” Hector grunted. “It’s just common sense. I still remember the day those black rainclouds came looming over the desert. Like a wall as far as you could see. I stole my dad’s bike and his dog and I left. I saw it coming, you know? And that witch Winona told my future once. Not that I believe in that stuff. But she said something bad was going to happen to me. To us. Destruction, she said. I feel like it’s coming.”


“It’s a red sky,” Jonah said, looking up. Hector turned his eyes to the clouds for a second, crimson streaks over the black peaks of the trees. “While we’re talking about superstition.”


Hector crossed his arms, and Jonah half-smiled.


“I used to wonder what the point was,” Jonah said. “Out there on the ocean, hauling up fish with no names, bringing them back and then doing it all over again. Because the world is over, right? At least the way it used to be. No more post offices or banks or good sushi restaurants. But I thought, you know what? This is it. This is all I’ve got. And I might as well see it through to the end. And I didn’t expect to get sucked into a cabinet or visit a land beyond death or die a bunch of times or tell some old guy that he’s about to get mobbed. But I did meet you. And I’d say it was worth waiting around for that.”


“I never thought about it,” Hector said, taking Jonah’s hands in his and closing his eyes. “Survive. That’s it. Keep clawing through the mud for one more day. I guess that’s how it’s been for a while, Jones.”


“I’m not going to leave,” Jonah said. “Not just because of… me. But the Scoutpost is here. All these good people. Violet and Bern and the rest. They’ve taken care of Ma, they’ve taken care of me. And yes, it’s scary to be attached, because something could happen. But I’m not going to run at the first sign of trouble. And maybe I can help them get through this. I know they could use your help too. You’re smart. And good with animals and hunting and all sorts of problems. It’s okay if you still want to go. But it’s not the only way.”


No, no, Hector thought. Don’t do it. Don’t you dare. It’s a trap, and you’re about to put your foot in it. Are you ready to gnaw off your own leg for this?


Hector nodded, and stood up, and began to walk into the trees. The dogs came away from whatever passing creature had seized their interest, and followed behind him.


“Hec? Where are you going?” Jonah said.


“To unpack,” Hector said. “I’ll stay.”




Interlude 2 - Infinity

Humans are apt to look up to the stars and call it an infinite expanse. This is dangerous for you, dreamer, because infinity is not something that you can really comprehend. And yet, when you turn your eyes to the sky, you look upon an ocean with no end, a nothingness that goes on and on forever.


If you were to walk into it, a million of your lifetimes would pass, a hundred million, an infinity of one foot after the other into nebula and star and finally the darkness where no light yet shines. The universe is full of indescribable life, seething in unseen moons and lurking in long-cold cities, but beyond the universe is unthinkable even for me as I am to you. That is the realm of the Outsiders, where even my kind cannot venture lest we lose ourselves to madness.


And yet it is there, on the edges, where the Black Eternity dwells, feasting on star and planet and extinguishing light, pulling this universe into a void-black darkness of its own.


Strange to think that it all, for its expanse and complexity, could end so quickly. Not because of the Black Eternity; the Guardian of Suns and Reclaimer of Fire can handle those sorts of things. Rather, my mentor, Dreaming All That Is, nestled deep beneath a starlit orchard. Were he to open his eyes and wake from eternal slumber, all we know would all come flashing to an end.


Try not to shine too brightly, then, with your telescopes.


We go now to one who is also home to an abyss.



Story 3 - Border Crossing

“Why are you holding so still? It’s weird,” Percy whispered from behind the passenger seat.


“I don’t want to scare Nimbus,” Diggory replied, staring with wide eyes. The cat with tousled fur sat in their lap, staring up without blinking. What do you want from me, Diggory thought?


“You should pet it,” Percy said. “Cats like that sometimes.”


Diggory looked at their own sharp-edged fingers with concern. The cat stretched its own lengthy claws in response.


“What are you reading, Ollie?” Riot called from the wheel. Olivier was back at the dining table, wrapped in her cloak and face hidden by a book. She peeked over the top and squinted.


“Why? Thinking of learning how?”


“Wow. Rude,” Riot said, shifting her attention back to the road ahead and muttering under her breath. “I can read. Movies are just better.”


Diggory wondered if they should have a preference, but they had not had the opportunity to enjoy either. Memory came to them in fragments—of turning page and revelation, of darkness lit by flickering light. When will I get anything of my own, Diggory thought.


“What is your book about, Olivier?” Diggory said.


“Vampires,” Olivier mumbled.


“Vampires are real, you know,” Riot said. The world around them seemed largely made of concrete, an evening sun flashing across a brown city overgrown with towering trees. They had passed a few other vehicles, dark figures in caravans and sedans, but no one had stopped, and they continued towards the toll bridge marked on Bern’s map.


“No they’re not,” Olivier said.


“Yuh-huh,” Riot nodded. “Walt knew one. I think she was there for the fight. Scary woman. Very vampirey.”


“You can’t just call some weird lady a vampire and say that vampires are real,” Olivier grunted. “Not how it works.”


“That’s a dreaming box,” Diggory said, pointing to the horizon. Across an expanse of dark water, a small square of the skyline was a mirror.


“We’re getting close to the bridge,” Riot said. “Everyone on your best behavior, okay? They probably won’t be as nice as Milo.”


Diggory looked up to find an emerald sign growing closer, with ‘Bridge to U.S.A.’ stamped in white.


“Are we a car or a truck?” Diggory said.


“Sure not ‘local traffic’,” Riot replied. “Let’s go in.”


She swerved in beneath the sign, crossing into a swirling road surrounded by overgrown beige buildings. Cars rusted where they were parked, and cement lots were crumpled by the roots of dark trees, crowding out the daylight.


“Maybe leave the talking to me,” Riot said. “Diggory, put this hat on.”


It was one of Walt’s uniform hats, and Diggory pushed their hair back beneath it. “Do we need to hide the cat?”


“Why would we need to hide the cat?” Riot said.


“Maybe they do not like cats,” Diggory said.


“Put him by your feet,” Riot replied, and they rolled out into a large paved area where the roots had not yet upturned the stone. A large barrier laid across it. What appeared to be many channels for vehicles to pass through had been barricaded with stone and sandbags, and only one entrance lay through the turquoise wall. A vehicle was parked in the opening, and two burly figures stood on either side, talking to the occupants. A small red car was parked several meters behind, waiting to enter.


“Oh great,” Riot said. “There’s a line.”


“Let me know if I need to get us through,” Olivier said. “I bet I can.”


“Let’s just take it easy,” Riot said. The gate was empty now, and the red car ahead of them rolled up to it. The men standing guard seemed rude, Diggory thought, and they circled the car like vultures. Shouting broke out between the guards and whoever sat inside the vehicle; arms were waving like flails. The car was motioned off to the side, and several of the men followed it closely, leaving the barricade unguarded.


“Do we go through now?” Diggory said.


“While they’re not looking,” Riot said, and started rolling. She stopped a moment later as a man stumbled out of a door in the barrier, and waved them over.


Diggory tried to appear as small as they could in their seat, and Riot rolled down the window.


“Salutations,” the man said. Diggory could not see his face from their seat. Riot leaned out the window.


“Hi.”


“What have you got for us?”


Riot shot Diggory a confused look, and glanced back to the guard. “Excuse me?”


“You pay. You cross the bridge. You don’t pay. You don’t cross the bridge. It’s not hard to understand.”


“Right,” Riot said. “Do you take Scoutcoin?”


“The hell is Scoutcoin?”


“I’m guessing that’s a ‘no’,” Riot said. A second guard had surfaced on Diggory’s side, and Diggory stared at them from behind the glass.


“How about papermoney?”


“Tangibles,” the guard said. “Gas. Food. Weapons. Resale value.”


“Right,” Riot hissed. “Yeah, that makes sense. Um…”


“I have socks,” Diggory whispered. The second guard tapped on Diggory’s door, and made a hand gesture. Diggory waved back.


“We need more than socks,” Riot whispered. “We’re almost out of fuel, we’ve barely got food…”


“Your vehicle’s not exactly camouflaged,” the guard said. “You must really like Stonemaiden.”


“Yeah, I’m her daughter,” Riot said, glancing around the cabin for ideas.


“Oh nice. And I’m the ghost of Elvis,” the guard said.


“No, for real,” Riot said, and paused for a moment, and reached into her bag. She pulled out a small MP3 player; Diggory had listened to every song on it, fragments they had once written.


“What’s this?” the guard said.


“It’s my mom’s music,” Riot said. “All of it.”


She passed the player down and out of the RV, and Diggory watched for a moment. The other guard rapped on their door again, and tried the handle. Diggory tried to keep Nimbus from hopping up, but did not look away.


“This is impossible to find, this stuff,” the voice from outside said. “Used to love this band, back in the day. Yeah, this will work. They’re clear.”


Diggory peeked out to find the second guard retreating, and Riot looked like she was going to cry. She began to roll up her window.


“Hey, be careful driving at night,” the guard said, and Riot paused. “Things come out. If you need anything, take the seventy-five an hour down to Toledo—there’s a farm there. Glass City. They’re open for business.”


“Thanks,” Riot said, and with a rumble of the RV’s iron belly, they were out across pavement and sailing up onto a long green bridge, stretching out across black water. The overgrown city was cast red in the sunlight, crumbled ‘university of windsor’ letters bidding them goodbye, and ahead of them tall grey buildings fell into the river as if spilled by a titan. Riot’s face was wet, and she rubbed at her nose as they crossed the border.


“Are you alright?” Diggory said. “I know that music meant much to you.”


“If it helps us get her back, it’s worth it,” Riot said.


“Hey everyone,” Percy said, phasing in through the ceiling as they crossed the apex of the bridge, and began to descend onto the grey shore. “Welcome to the U.S.A.”



Outro - Edges

Edges. Our time is defined, it seems, by crossings from one to the next. From youth to old age, sadness to hope, life to death. We stand at the precipice and leap, or wait until the earth crumbles from beneath our feet. Yet between every two points, there is a transition. A journey in the fall.


An entire lifetime, a reminder that the sun will rise, a last breath. There is as much beauty in the act of finding, I think, as in what is found. This is, after all, where I dwell. When your dreams flicker at the verge of sleep, the existence between life and thought, as material as fear and solid as comfort. And yet, though you move more linearly across the points of your life, we are all approaching an end together, all caught in a once and final transition.


Know that they are not always pleasant. But if you dread the shadow, I am made of it. If you fear the future, so do I, but I will not let it find you alone. Until all things finish their glorious fall, I am your loyal host Nikignik, waiting transitorily for your return to the Hallowoods.




The bonus story that goes with this episode is called 'Good Job', 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!