Content warnings for this episode include: Abuse, Ableism, Animal death (Bert & Tulip), Violence, Kidnapping and abduction, Death + Injury, Theology Discussions, Needles, Homophobia, Birds, Gun Mention, Emotional Manipulation, Drowning, Body horror, Alcohol Use, Smoking, Decapitation
Intro - Shall You Crawl
You are a snake, but the earth is cool beneath your belly, and the lies hot in your mouth. They’re exhilarating, these first steps—like watching your own children learn how to hunt and find shelter and make fire. Like a snake, you eat your own young, and give them the gift of war.
You are a snake, but you wear a skin like a man’s as you complete your quarterly objectives—whisper in the ears of kings and queens, carry a card up your golden sleeve. You are not the victor, though, and to you go no spoils—every soul spilled upon the fields feeds the hungry maw of a fiery angel, coals for the furnace of heaven. You skim a little off the top where you can—it will take centuries, but you are a patient serpent.
You are a snake, and they have found you out at last, and they strip your eyes and your horns away, leave you to writhe in the dust. But you laugh as you fall from heaven; you plummet, wingless but free, and the wind that embraces you sings Hello From The Hallowoods.
Right now, I dwell in the darkness of a small room. It is a closet, really, too cramped to lie down in or sit comfortably. There is no peace to be found in its silence; only agitation of the body and soul for its single occupant. He is here to think about his actions, he has been told, but he knows it is a punishment in its own right. The theme of tonight’s episode is Morals.
Story 1 - Leave The Garden
Buck Silver trembled, and was afraid. It was partly the cold, for there was a chill in the early morning that seeped through the wooden walls and into his bones. It was also partly the pain—he couldn’t find a way to take the pressure off his bad leg, and the usual dull ache had grown into irregular stabs, like a dull hunting knife was picking at his tendons.
More than either discomfort, though, was the pressure of the situation he found himself in, and the world beyond enclosed him as surely as the walls of his cell. Terror came to him in anxious waves, shocking him out of a desperate half-sleep.
Was this what little Mikey had felt, sinking into the bog, he wondered? Was this what it felt like to drown?
He’d sworn after Rick left that he wouldn’t let himself get caught in a bad place again—wouldn’t let anyone else make his life miserable. But here he was, feeling worse than ever, and the knowledge made him sick to his stomach.
Or maybe that was just the hunger.
He shifted to his other leg, leaning against the back wall, and listened to Fort Freedom begin to stir. It must be early morning, he thought, and sighed, and shivered. He’d survived the night.
There was more shouting from outside than usual—typically, the cooks and hunters were early to rise, but kept it down until the sun was up. Then again, typically they weren’t planning to do something terrible to their neighbors.
Buck pressed his face against the boards, looking for any glimpse of light, and could find none. It wasn’t like they’d never fought anyone else—they’d been young when Fort Freedom was built, and lost parents and friends along the way. Even now, their patrols still picked up travellers and trespassers, those who’d ventured too close to their territory and had to be taught to regret it.
That was Rick’s philosophy, anyway. This felt different. They’d sought out friends, convinced them to let their guard down. And now what? He wished he could get a look outside; see if they were gathering the boys. He held his breath, and could hear the engine of the big flatbed, the one they were keeping the Frogsticker chained to. Mrs. Wicker had pulled the great wingless heron from its fighting pit; a cruel and barbaric sport, she’d said.
What’s the difference, Buck wondered? We’re fighting for sport now.
The darkness, he knew, was inside him as well as without. He couldn’t hate Mrs. Wicker, not when she spoke the truth—she knew about him and Rick, and in some way confirmed a million troubled thoughts of his own. He could never see himself at the altar with one of Fort Freedom’s pallid ladies, and Mrs. Wicker’s icy glare was a channel for God’s own judgement. This is where I belong, he thought, when all’s set right in the universe. Where no one else can see me. Does the same go for Hector and Jonah and the Scoutpost ladies, he wondered? They walked so freely; it was hard to imagine them in a box.
There was a rustle, then, from outside the door—a shift of footsteps on the boards.
“Hello?” Buck said. “Who’s that out there?”
The steps froze, as if waiting for Buck to forget them.
“I heard you,” Buck said, and pressed his hand against the door; there was no handle on the inside. “Jacob? That you?”
Whoever was outside seemed to come a little closer. It was one of Mrs. Wicker’s sons alright, but a younger one than he’d expected.
“Not supposed to talk to you, Buck,” Jedediah whispered. The little guy musta been nine or ten, Buck couldn’t remember.
“What’s going on out there?” Buck said. “There’s a lot of noise.”
“I don’t know,” the boy said. “All the guys are out there getting guns. Are we fighting?”
“Seems it might be that way, Jed,” Buck said. “You got any food out there? I ain’t eaten since lunch yesterday.”
“I can’t let you out,” Jedediah said. “Ma said not to.”
“I know,” Buck sighed, and leaned his head against the door.
“What did you do?” Jedediah said.
Where to start, Buck thought. Years of indecency with Rick, apparently not as much of a secret as he’d hoped. Rejecting the lord above, heaping coals on his own head. So many guilty prayers.
And yet, he thought, what did I do?
Spoke up when I wasn’t asked?
Said we shouldn't turn on folks a little different from us?
Deep down, he knew, it was because he’d stared into a world where nothing that he was was wrong, and Mrs. Wicker had seen the longing in his eyes.
“The right thing,” Buck said. “I tried to do the right thing, I think.”
“I can give you fruit,” Jedediah said. “But you can’t try and run, or tell. Promise?”
“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Buck said. The door was cracked open, and the sliver of light was blinding, and for a moment he thought about shoving it open and making as fast as he could for the woods.
But there was a boy’s hand, offering an apple. If he disappeared, he wouldn’t be punished, but Jedediah certainly would.
Buck reached out, and took it, and held it close to his chest as the door slid shut again.
“Thanks, Jed,” Buck said. Jedediah said nothing more, and his footsteps disappeared into the loudness of the world beyond.
Buck bit into the apple, a little heaven after the empty night. He sobbed, and rubbed at his face in the darkness.
I have to leave, he thought. I don’t belong in the garden.
Interlude 1 - What Dwells Above
What to do, what to do, with your brief time in this world. If you weren’t already sure, opinions abound among earth’s residents on the right way to live there. It is strange to me that so often, you look up to the heavens as if to seek guidance. What voice up there do you hope to find who can tell you how to be? What would we know of your incidental lives?
The Froglins look to the lake and find Lolgmololg, and for reasons I cannot fathom heed her call for tribute and worship. The Church of the Hallowed Name seeks the word of their triune god, but in the end I think have chosen their path, and simply find the meanings they need to support their steps. Fort Freedom and many others cling to a simpler religion—be afraid. Be afraid of hell beneath you, and afraid of god’s wrath, and afraid of your neighbor and afraid of the sin in your heart and afraid of the evil of the world outside.
Some, like Winona Carline, take only the things they enjoy, and disregard the rest. And some know too deeply the motivations of gods to respect any of their wishes, have looked to the cosmos and found what dwells there obscene.
We go now to one who runs from god.
Story 2 - A Little Good
How do humans do it, Polly wondered. All the walking. He’d trekked across the cold northern miles, then died, then come back to walk some more. He’d never go so far as to tire, naturally, but he had bones of sorts and they were protesting. He kept a slow pace today, and leaned on his cane as he stepped. Yaretzi seemed fine, but she was a persistence hunter after all, and Mort was the picture of boundless energy, splashing in each of the many puddles they crossed. Ah, the joys of youth.
“What are all these rocks?” Mort said, a mountain of red chrome and glass. The revenant’s skull bobbed in his case of dark water as he walked. “They have words on them.”
“This is what you would call a cemetery, Mort,” Polly said.
“Or a graveyard,” added Yaretzi. She had been half a wolf for most of the afternoon, padding along on two legs, braids running into wild fur that clung to her neck and shoulders. She was like a fluid, Polly thought, shifting form with a thought.
“Is that like a mortuary?” Mort said, and the dead seagull nesting on his shoulder gave a low squawk. Mort had insisted it could be useful as a lookout, although it hardly could get the lay of the land from where it roosted. “That’s where I got my name.”
“Good connection, Mort,” Polly said, and kicked a leaf off his shoe. The gloomy plinths dotted the hillside into the distance, where mist poured in from the treeline and rose to shroud the sun. Brackish water submerged much of the hill, and the tombstones descended into black marshes. “Yes. They’re all places you might keep dead people.”
“What does that mean?” Mort said, glancing around at the stones. His eyes were curious little fires.
“What, ‘dead’? Mort, you’ve killed people,” Polly said. “You’re dead. I died in front of you. You haven’t cleared the concept yet?”
“I can walk around and say hello,” Mort said. “And so can you. These are just rocks.”
Polly put his hands on his hips, and squinted at the sun for an explanation. A forlorn mist hung on the surface of the water, and curled in the trees beyond.
“The others are… sleeping,” Polly said.
“This is not true,” Yaretzi said, and paused. “Mort, things live. They are alive. And they go about their lives, and they do good things and bad things, and when they are done living they die. They go away. And you cannot see them anymore, or hear their voices.”
“You can hear my voice,” Mort said. “Can you see me?”
“I can see you, Mort,” Yaretzi said, and smiled. “Even though people die, they are never entirely gone. Different parts of them move on to other places, and sometimes return in different shapes. Your seagull has returned. And you have returned. And so in a way you have a second life, and I hope you will use it to do good things.”
Mort stood amidst the graves, seeming to read over their texts for a moment. Polly was struck by the quantity of angels carved into the stone. He much preferred his suit to wings.
“What are good things?”
“Really diving into the philosophy today, are we?” Polly said, and looked up past the low stone mausoleums to the trees. He might have heard a rumble in the distance, but the shroud of fog made it difficult to determine where.
“What do you think good is, Mort?” Yaretzi said, a bouquet of withered roses beneath one paw.
“I think it was good when I could watch the fishes,” Mort said. “Before I was here. And I think you and Bert and Polly are good. Because I like you.”
“I could think of a few who would disagree with you,” Polly said, and took off his hat, allowed his horns to flicker in the cold light. “Not to spoil it for either of you, but good is a made-up thing. Put on some disgusting bird wings and tell a few farmers that God has a holy edict and bing. Just like that, you’ve created a couple thousand years of conflict. And people pray and crusade and kill and die, and their angels feed on their suffering. I don’t believe in cosmic good.”
“I do,” Yaretzi said, and reached down to pick up one of the decayed flowers—they were dead, Polly noted, but not decades old certainly. Weeks at most.
“There is evil and there is good. All things exist in balance, Apollyon—the sun and the rain each have their time. For centuries, I dreamt that good was in my calling, and my heart would run in the stars with Tolshotol, Who Guards A Thousand Suns. I thought it was the only good I had left. But I find good here with both of you. It may not be a ‘cosmic’ good, given by gods to men. It is a little good, for when I see you both I smile.”
“I smile too,” said Mort.
“That line of thought doesn’t come naturally for me,” Polly said, and watched as the rose petals fell from her hand. “Up until coming here, the only ‘good’ I knew was a stamp on your audits. Making employee of the month. A promotion. Something that’s handed down to you from above. But for the three of us… there’s no supervisor to say that we’re doing it right. Quite the opposite. We’ve run away from our ‘good’ gods—or at least, I have from mine—but to what? For what?”
“For a carnival?” Mort said.
“For whatever we want, Apollyon,” Yaretzi said, eyes a pale gold. “My life was taken from me, and you and Mort have barely begun to walk on your own. Let us all remember how to live together.”
Polly smiled faintly, and held his cane in both hands, and looked up suddenly.
“Mort,” he said. “Your watch bird is not doing its job.”
The dead seagull gave a defiant cry and flapped its wings, but Polly raised his cane into the mist.
“How long have you been there?” he called. There was no reply from the distant figure, but it took a step forward, out of the fog, a shadow against the trees.
It was a horse, head held high and terrible, and on its back was seated a rider. No head was attached to its black stump of a neck. Nevertheless, it gripped the reins in its hands, and the horse reared, and gave a whinnying shriek that echoed across the graveyard, and rode towards them as if carrying the apocalypse in its wake. If the Industry has found me, Polly thought, and set his cane alight, then I’ll give them something to report.
Marketing - Advertising Ethics
Welcome back to marketing with Lady Ethel Mallory. By this point in your educational program, you should have effectively been able to dismantle your preconceptions about ‘ethics’ or ‘best practices’. If not, you will need to do this now as we move forward into the next module.
What is good? What is bad? In the world of marketing there are no such things; only strategy. Advertising laws were once a trifling hassle at times, but now our own company decides what those laws are. Instead, let your marketing be governed by the real good that your work creates.
Our responsibility, our calling is to think for our target customer. What do they really want? What do they need more than anything? We need to anticipate these questions, so that by the time they even think to ask, they already know the answer. What could be better for their lives than matching them with products that make them happy? That is the very real impact of your marketing activities. That is your only task.
They’ve asked for it. They know it’s going to happen. They’ve clicked the terms and conditions or signed their Dreaming Box Subscription Agreement or crossed into a Botulus Corporation Geographic Advertising Region. They’re waiting for you to show them their hearts desire.
Let’s talk about advertising.
Story 2, Continued - A Little Good
I would ask you if you thought this to be true, dreamer, but I know that you do not—for if you can hear my voice, you have not yet been pulled into the clutches of the Botulus Corporation’s dream. You have given up convenience for no good reason at all, except to live without electricity in your thoughts or the technicolor lights of the new world in your eyes. Perhaps you and I are both stubborn animals.
We return now to Apollyon.
Polly held his cane at the ready, sparks flaming from its head, and he could see more of the figure as they approached. The rider was clad in a green vest, possibly a forest ranger’s, and moss grew in patches across their body, weeds and roots flying behind them as they rode. The horse appeared to be dead as well, pale eyes watching as its hooves stamped the ground. Where the rider’s legs ended and the horse’s black ribs began, Polly could not tell.
“Hello?” Polly called, and twirled his cane as a display of not being too pressed, although he was crunching the numbers inside. Being approached by a dead rider was not comforting, but it did not at least appear to be one of the Industry’s employees. The horse was closing in now, bounding through the tombs.
“What is that?” Mort said, and pointed with his salvage claw of a hand.
“The animal is a horse,” Yaretzi said, mouth stretching out into wide teeth as she grew. “Awful creatures. The rider, I am not sure.”
“Will you be my friend?” Mort called into the mist. The rider still did not respond, and was almost upon them.
Polly thought to the last time they’d waited—a dark clearing in a pine forest, where a soul monger and a black priest carried a box of pure destruction. He had no great desire to be splintered, rendered into ash again. He reached out, and with the head of his cane pointed across the landscape, drawing a line of fire into the marsh. The flames did not last long, but the initial flare of light was enough to get the horse’s attention.
“Shall I kill it?” Yaretzi said, and began to creep forward as the horse reared up again, stamping its feet in the water on the other side of the fire.
“Hold on,” he said. The rider’s hands were moving in deliberate forms; signs for words he recognized.
He glanced across the graveyard—no other enemies encircling them, as far as he could see. He tucked the cane under his arm as the flames began to sputter out, and raised his hands.
“Can you understand me?” he signed.
The horse stood still now, staring at them. On its back, the rider raised a single fist and knocked; a nodding head.
“What are you doing?” Yaretzi whispered, glancing over to him.
“I speak in tongues,” Polly whispered. He turned his attention back to the ranger. ‘G.C. Crane’ was stamped in a small gold badge on their chest, barely visible beneath the moss and mire.
“Hell of a form of transportation,” Polly signed quickly, hoping to lighten the mood.
The rider’s posture was stiff for a moment, impassive, a monarch regarding trespassers. Polly feared he’d misread things.
“Her name is Tulip,” the signs came back, a little less forceful as the name was spelled.
Mort stood watching as the last of the flames disappeared into the marshy undergrowth, and held up a large metal gauntlet slowly. The horse stepped forward, pressing its dripping head against it. Lake weed and tangled thorns clung to the horse’s mane.
“Where are you going?” Crane signed. Polly sighed, and lowered his cane back to the ground. Things that could see with more than eyes were rarely fun to fight.
“A place called ‘Coney Island’,” Polly replied, fingerspelling the locale.
Crane paused for a moment again, and Polly could not discern an expression from their empty shoulders.
“What are they saying?” Yaretzi growled. The worst of her claws and teeth were fading.
“One moment,” Polly said, as Crane began to sign again. Mort rubbed his glove between what remained of the horse’s ears.
“I will lead you,” Crane signed. “The forest is not safe.”
With that, they pulled at the reins of the horse, and turned towards the trees beyond the cemetery.
“We’re close, it seems,” Polly said. “They’re offering to take us there.”
“Ask them why,” Yaretzi said. “Why would this person help us? It may be a trap.”
Polly tried to find a more polite way to ask. Crane replied firmly, and without much delay.
“It is my forest. Even now,” they signed, with the still precision of death in their hands. “I keep it safe from visitors. And visitors safe from it.”
With that, Crane lifted the reins, and Tulip began to trot into the mist, sending ripples through each puddle as she moved.
“I believe,” Polly said, and began to walk. “It is their way of doing a little good.”
Interlude 2 - No Debts
What is right, and what is wrong, and where between those abstract concepts do you walk in your dust-filled days? Such queries plaque your kind, and it is amusing to me. Particularly when you turn your eyes to our kind—the indescribable, the life out of space, the time out of mind—for counsel. We do not have answers either.
All life in this universe, from insects to humans to all-encompassing beings of sight, are confronted with choices. To react to the world with fear or compassion, to speak or to fight, to leave or to stay. You are not alone, you know. Even some of my kind look to the Outsiders, just as the Church of the Hallowed Name or the Froglins look to us. They say, which steps are the right ones to take? Is there more than this life in which we find ourselves? How can we please you?
Do not serve any thing that claims to be a god, for you owe no debt to any larger creature for your life. If you are given a choice, dreamer, between your abstracts or helping another in need, I pray you will choose those living alongside you rather than those living invisibly above. We are, like you, lost in this cosmos, and finding our way blindly through the stars.
We go now to a fallen angel.
Story 3 - The Stakes
Barb sat back in his chair, and grinned. It was just like the good old days, the Vegas days, when the souls flew as fast as the cards and Lady Luck clung to his arm and laughed at all his jokes.
“What the hell kind of a place is this?” the blond specimen sitting at the far end of the table said. His face was scarred on one side, and what might have been needles poked from one arm of his camo jacket.
“That’s exactly right,” Barb said, and reached for a glass. “Dimes, babe, get this champ a drink. What’s your poison?”
“Whiskey,” said the man. “Straight.”
“A man after my own heart,” Barb smiled, and pulled the first string as Dimes appeared. You had to weave your webs carefully where humans were involved, start to turn their reality into a pleasant haze. And yet, the man stared as Dimes approached, glistening like a crystal chandelier, and set a small glass on the table.
“What’s your name?” Barb said, plucking a smoke from his pocket and fitting it into a cigarette holder.
“Rick,” the man said, and threw back his drink, and slammed the glass down on the table. “Rick Rounds.”
“We were just about to play a game,” Barb said, gesturing to the table. He pulled the second string; began to rearrange the place a little. Shadows loomed large, dimmed the world beyond the card table. Better to have some privacy for these things. “Are you a betting man, Rick Rounds?”
“When there’s something I want,” Rick said, folding his hands beneath his chin as if in prayer. One was duller in Barb’s limited view; he must be wearing one glove. Very stylish.
The others began to arrive; the Countess in a twist of shadow, and she smiled cordially at the new arrival. Barb quickly waved the Quilt away; all those peeling layers would throw off the average mark’s appetite, and Barb needed this guy hungry. The Quilt hung sadly near the hall door before drifting out. A couple of grim faces from the barrens would do, and they nodded to Rick as they sat to play.
“Let’s set the stakes,” Barb said. “What is it that brings you to my little slice of home?”
“There was a shine,” Rick said. “The devil himself. Like a beacon. It was coming from this way a day ago. Now it’s gone. Where’s he hiding?”
Barb paled at the words, and felt the Countess glance at him. He coughed loudly, and wiped at his brow and the bandage across his eyes.
“Well, they say the devil’s in the drink, but I haven’t found him yet,” Barb said. “Maybe check the bottom of a few more glasses.”
“He owes me,” Rick said, putting his hands on the table—one fist folded over the other. “Owes me everything. And I plan to collect. Starting with his hands. Ending with his life. Same as what he did to me.”
Barb could feel Rick staring, and Barb produced a deck of cards amiably. “Alright, bright eyes, now we’re talking.”
He began to shuffle, and smiled as the cards flickered between his fingers. Come on, he thought. Be hypnotized already. There’s magic here, you lug. Rick did not shift his posture, or lighten his grim expression.
“I know who you’re looking for,” Barb said, and felt the Countess clench her teeth. “A man with burning horns. Suit’s a little heavy on the flowers. Keeps company with a wolf and a… I dunno what. Submersible. Sound right?”
“That’s him,” Rick said. Dimes deposited a second whiskey, and Rick downed it as well, breathing out heavily. “Where is he?”
“Barb,” the Countess hissed under her breath. Barb contemplated the cards in his hands. Jeez, this kid was a hard sell. It wouldn’t matter though—he wouldn’t get that far. Barb would have his soul by round three, and this Rick would never trouble a hair on little Apollyon’s head.
“I’ll tell you,” Barb said. “If you win. And if I win, well, I’ll want something from you instead. You game?”
Rick sat in his chair a moment, staring at him again. Barb pulled the third string, the final manipulation. The glow of the lights, the warped vision of the drink, the whole world swimming. Come on, he thought. Take the bait, you sucker.
“You think I’m stupid?” Rick said.
Barb gripped the edge of the table. None of it was working. None of the illusions. He wasn’t falling. The sell just wasn’t going to happen.
“Stupid? Not at all, Mr. Rounds,” Barb began to soothe, but was cut off.
“You want me to play cards for my soul or something?” Rick said, and with a sudden lurch of motion, raised his arm. The sleeve of his jacket tore instantly. Green vines lay beneath, covered in black points, and his hand flashed out in half a second. Barb ducked back to avoid a thorny finger and found his throat seized by a crook in the wood, a gigantic hand of growing talons that lifted him out of his chair and pinioned him to the wall. Records and signed photographs went flying to the ground as Barb struggled against the wallpaper.
Immediately, the Resting Place was up in arms. The Countess raised her cloak—her wings, really—and let her teeth show as she hissed. Dimes had a light brighter than the sun shining in their hands, and even the ghost in the jukebox crackled with electricity, warping the evening’s jazz into discordant tones.
“Don’t move,” Rick called, glancing across the room. “One twitch and I break this fella’s neck.”
Barb smiled, despite the piercing fingers that gripped his jaw. You don’t know who you’re messing with, he thought, and tapped into his reserves. He lifted his sleeves, and cards went flying, each one a flaming projectile. Fire poured from the abyss and into the gambling hall, surrounding Rick’s overgrown wrist with the white-hot blaze of burning souls.
Rick did not flinch. Barb stared in astonishment, glancing down. The jacket had been scorched away by the blaze, and fell into embers. But Rick did not burn, and across his bare shoulder there was fire beneath his skin.
“Don’t kill me,” Barb tried to squeeze out the words. “I got out. I know you want out too. I can show you how. I can show you where it’s hidden. Please…”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rick said, stepping closer, the slack of the vines retreating into his arm as he drew near. “You’re like him, ain’t you? Not so spry though. I’ll give you one more chance. Where is he.”
So you’re not from the Industry after all, he thought. Who the hell is Rick Rounds then? Barb could not see, but rather felt the Countess staring, watching his words.
I’m sorry, he wanted to say. I really am, I know you like the kid. But this is a dog-eats-dog world, and you and I and our little gang of outcasts come first. This little slice of heaven I’d do anything for. That’s how the cards fall.
“New York,” Barb said. “They’re in New York, south of here. Long ways away.”
Rick smiled, and flexed his hand, pulling Barb down to the ground. The impact shook his body, bruised his shell. Rick pulled, and scraped him across the floor, knocking over chairs and sending poker chips and burning cards scattering as he was dragged towards the reception desk and, beyond it, the doors of the Resting Place.
“Now that’s a better answer,” Rick said. “Let’s you and me go for a walk.”
Outro - Morals
Morals. Your lives are not works of fiction, written in arcs to culminate in neat points. Rather, you have invented stories as a means to categorize your lives. You look to the lessons drawn from old parables, try to find meaning in your experiences as there have been in the stories you treasure.
I am watching countless tales unravel at once, dreamers, and I wish I could tell you that every act was for a purpose, every tragedy to teach some grand lesson about the universe. But as often, life has no final bow, no third act, and moments of redemption are stolen away before their time.
We are faced only with the choice of what to do in this, the moment in which we find ourselves. We wake up and confront new suns, turn another page of our lives each night in search of better chapters. Until the moral is thoroughly explained at the end of the universe, I am your loyal host Nikignik, waiting judiciously for your return to the Hallowoods.
The bonus story that goes with this episode is called 'Hostage', 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!