HFTH - Episode 85 - Roots



Content warnings for this episode include: Discussion of Emotional Abuse, Ableism, Animal death (Heidi as usual), Kidnapping and abduction, Death + Injury, Blood, Mental illness, Sexism and misogyny, Religious violence, Lengthy conversations about morality, Homophobia, Birds, Guns, Strangulation/suffocation, Static (including sfx), Emotional Manipulation, Bugs, Body horror, Al still has no skin



Intro - Half A Life

There is a quiet despair in gathering your possessions as you prepare to leave. The realization that you do not have enough room for everything in your bag, have accumulated more than you can carry, had almost believed that this could have been forever home.


Book or journal, bedroll or instrument, dress or boots. Your decisions are made quickly, but not without remorse, and you resolve not to forget this time. You leave half a life behind, carry the rest upon your shoulders as you walk.


Across several horizons, a new home is waiting. It finds you unexpectedly, and as you unpack your journal and instrument and boots, you try to remind yourself that you will not be here long. You are never anywhere long. You are a briar without a garden, a dandelion seed compelled by the wind from one crevice to the next. And yet, your new home grows. It does not disappear.


It is years before you learn to trust it, but it never ceases to welcome you, and each time you lay eyes upon it again, it greets you with a little Hello From The Hallowoods.


Theme.


Right now, I am in a dark little space fifteen feet beneath the earth. Fifteen feet may not seem like much, but when the weight of a forest’s feet crushes the world above you, creeps in through the floorboards, drowns out your muffled screams, it seems like very much indeed. The theme of tonight’s episode is Roots.



Story 1 - Forty Rotten Things

Forty, Bern thought. I’m the fortieth rotten thing I’ve put in the ground. The dead german shepherd made a sniffing sound; its pale eyes seemed to glow ever so slightly green in the dark. Somewhere in the shadow, the Wicker boy was sobbing.


“Just keep pressure on it,” said Bern. She closed her eyes; there was nothing to see, but plenty to hear. “I don’t want to have to be down here with your body if you bleed out.”


“I guess I’d already be buried,” Jacob Wicker whispered in the far corner. The boy had no more charm than his mother.


“Let’s hope not,” said Bern. “I’m going to call again. Violet? Hector? Jonah, are you up there?”


There was only a weighty silence. The last she could remember was an upheaval; the mighty roots of the forest cracking apart the bones of the Scoutpost, worming through the logs of the office, pulling the little chamber down into the earth. She wondered if she had managed to get Jonah with the tranquilizer pistol before it went down—certainly, the forest had not reacted well. This had better not be how I go out, thought Bern. Babysitting for Fort Freedom.


“Can I ask you a question?” whispered Jacob. He shifted something; likely tending to his knee.


“If you’ll answer one in return,” Bern grunted. She might have ruined him walking for life, but hadn’t yet gotten around to feeling bad about it. He had, after all, pulled a rifle on her wife, held all of their futures at gunpoint, helped to cause all this desolation.


“What was that thing?” Jacob said. “The devil-man? I didn’t believe Rick when he talked about devils, but I see now what he meant. Why would you call something like that down? The sky was turning, and he talked like thunder…”


“I don’t know,” said Bern. “The man, Jonah, is my friend. But I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s the forest, I think. Maybe to protect us. Maybe to punish us. But I don’t believe in devils or angels.”


“They’re real,” said Jacob. “My mom says they watch over us. And I didn’t believe her always, because I’d never seen one. But my littlest siblings, they went off and got lost a little while ago. And we looked everywhere but no one could find ‘em. And then, there they were. Home safe. They said an angel did it. And they fib all the time, but not this time. I believe them. An angel led them home that day.”


“I do know an angel, now that I think about it,” said Bern.


“Yeah?” said Jacob. Scrape, scrape, went his body across the boards, ever so slowly. Heidi shifted and looked around in the shadow.


“Yeah,” said Bern. “Her name’s Violet. She’s my wife. And you were about to shoot her. Not very neighbourly of you.”


“She wouldn’t agree to the rules,” said Jacob quietly. “That was all we needed. I wasn’t going to hurt her. Really.”


“Stop,” said Bern.


“What?” said Jacob, a little panic in his voice.


“You’re reaching out for that rifle in the corner,” said Bern. “And if you’re smart, you’ll leave it right where it sits. If you’re not smart, you’ll pick it up and do something stupid, and I promise you’ll never see your siblings or your mama again.”


“Okay,” Jacob whispered, and the movement ceased.


“My question is, what gives you the right?” said Bern. She wished for anything that Violet was with her; that she wasn’t stuck underground wondering what had happened, if her wife was still alive. She was supposed to be there. And if it turned out that she wasn’t alright, Bern would become a very dangerous person indeed. “To ruin our lives? To destroy what we’ve built here for ourselves? What were you trying to do?”


“I was just doing what my mother told me,” said Jacob.


“Which was?” Bern said. “Kill all of our people? Our families? Our kids? Move right on in?”


“No,” said Jacob. “Most people would be okay, if they followed the rules. Try to teach you the good news. How to live right. This was going to be Fort Faith. Get rid of the zombies. Teach the bible. Have proper farms to support everyone—there’s not much good that grows near Fort Freedom. But I guess it doesn’t matter now. It’s over.”


A fire burned in Bern’s chest. How far would be enough, before there were no more people trying to tell her how to live, no pointing fingers, no hands tearing into the sunlit peace of her life? She breathed out, slowly, and stared up into darkness.


“I know it already,” said Bern. “Everything you think you want to teach us. I grew up with it. Things about angels and devils and never being enough, never being clean. But these people are already perfect. They’re part of this world and they’re beautiful. So we built our own life, to celebrate that. To live without oppression.”


“It ain’t oppression,” Jacob whispered. “It’s just… right n’ wrong. That’s what she says. It ain’t personal. It’s just the way things are meant to be. It’s an act of love to…”


“It is personal,” said Bern. “Those things you believe. They may not affect anyone you know of at Fort Freedom. But it’s my life. The life of my wife. We were happy here for twenty years until you invaded with your guns. You realize that, right? All this, where we are right now, it’s on you. And I know your mother’s been telling you what to do, sure, but you agreed. You went along. And you helped ruin everything we’ve built. This the act of love you were talking about?”


Jacob was silent for a moment.


“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “It seemed so clear-cut, at the time. And I guess it’s not. I deserve to die down here.”


“I don’t want you to die,” said Bern, and breathed out. She felt a dead German Shepherd press its matted head against her shoulder, and she patted it. “I want you to learn. And to change. Martyrs don’t get to fix things. But if we get out of here, there will be people left who are looking to you, wondering what to do now. What are you going to tell them?”


“I don’t know,” Jacob whispered. “I don’t know.”



Interlude 1 - Closed For Business

Attention to visitors, traveling merchants, passers-through, debt collectors, local cryptids, and anyone else intending to visit Scoutpost One. The Scoutpost is closed. Specifically, it is closed beneath the earth, as the great network of black roots that connects the Hallowoods has burst up to the surface, enveloped and pulled down the remains of its walls and towers into the ground.


This is the second residence to have been entangled this way, with the first being the house of the Instrumentalist earlier this spring. That event, however, could have been predicted well in advance—the forest was furious, denied entry in its own land, and grew in a great and crushing wall as it sought out entry.


Here, the forest is as concerned and confused as its herald, and holds the shattered Scoutpost still in its grasp, and begins to realize what it has done. We go now to one who hangs in the balance.



Story 2 - Buried Alive Bingo

Zelda had spent too much of her life imprisoned, she thought. For two days in a Florida sheriff’s office. For thirty-odd years in a distressing marriage. And for a blurry amount of time in the basement of Solomon Reed. However, she had not been upside down for any of those experiences, and that added a sense of urgency to the present.


“Any luck?” she said to the darkness.


“Sorry, Missus Zelda,” said Buck. “I shoulda packed a little axe or something. There’s a root that’s got me by the boot here.”


There was a whimper from Hector’s dog, somewhere. What was a little cranny in the walkway, a seeming safe space between two domiciles, had become a dark little prison of roots.


“Can’t you just take the boot off?” said Zelda.


“I’m tryin’,” said Buck. “But now that it ain’t movin, it’s as sturdy and tight as if it’d grown that way.”


“If you asked Jackie nicely I bet she could gnaw it off for you,” said Zelda.


“The root or the leg?” said Buck.


“Whichever lets you get me down the fastest,” said Zelda, head throbbing. “I’m losing circulation here.”


“Don’t wanna take any chances,” said Buck. “The leg gives me enough trouble as it is.”


“Usually it’s the knees for me,” said Zelda. “And hips. And back. But right now, it’s the hanging upside down in the dark. I’m going to see if I can get my shotgun.”


“Ma’am, we’ll find a way to get you down,” said Buck; Zelda felt for the floor beneath her and snatched up a heavy wooden handle. “I’d advise you not to shoot anything in here…”


Zelda jammed the shotgun into the roots by one of her feet, and pulled the trigger. There was a brief flash of light as it ignited, and a thunderous blast, and she dropped a few feet to the ground, feet free of the tangle of roots overhead. She groaned and lay on her back.


“Don’t try anything else,” she told the ceiling. “Or I’ll get you again.”


Immediately there was a dog beside her, sticking its nose in her face, and she pushed it away. “Move, Jackie. I’m trying to breathe here.”


“You okay there, Zelda ma’am?” said Buck from elsewhere in the darkness.


“Just catching my breath,” Zelda gasped. “Sounds like something a spy would ask.”


“I ain’t a spy,” Buck sighed. “Though we may be past the point o’ spies anyways.”


“Well, why else would you want to live in a place like this?” Zelda asked. “Jonah tried to drag me out here for years—I shouldn’t have listened. I could have stayed in my little lake house away from trouble. Or maybe the trouble followed me. It does that, you know.”


“I feel just the opposite,” said Buck. “I shoulda left Fort Freedom a long time ago.”


“You chose a bad time for a visit,” Zelda shrugged, and crossed her hands over her chest. It was peaceful, somehow, down on the floor.


“Better than getting stoned or something,” said Buck. “Mrs. Wicker woulda been the end of me somehow, I know it.”


“What’s her problem?” said Zelda. Somewhere far off, the earth seemed to shake; a distant earthquake.


“I don’t think I fit in,” said Buck, from across the lightless cave. “Never have. I ain’t too good at rule-following. At least with Rick I had… protection. Ain’t nobody protecting me no more.”


“I break rules on purpose,” said Zelda. “Used to make a game of terrorizing the homeowner’s association.”


“They don’t tell you all the rules, even,” Buck said. “They just know. Behave this way and keep quiet at times and love one person but not the other and so forth. And you make one mistake and they’re on you. When like as not, behind closed doors, we’re all the same.”


“I get what you mean, Bucko,” said Zelda. “Dex was big on rules. My ex-husband. Not when we first met. Back then he seemed… clean. You ever meet someone who seems clean? My life was a mess, and always falling apart, and he seemed so sturdy. Like a navy warship. Or a filing cabinet. And he had little Jonah… you remind me of baby Jonah. All quiet and curious. The most sensitive baby you can imagine. But as time went on, there were more rules. Conditions. And if everything wasn’t just right he didn’t want it at all.”


“But the only real rule is how they feel, right?” Buck said. “Whether they feel hurt or not. Whether they want to hurt someone or not. The rules don’t matter.”


“Pretty much,” said Zelda. “It didn’t last forever. The important thing is, Jonah and I are safe. And we can both make our family what we want it to be, even if it’s loud and messy and complicated. I just want better for him. Hector is nice. Have you met Hector?”


“They seem happy together,” said Buck. “Peaceful. Truth be told, Missus Duckworth, I haven’t seen a couple like that in my whole life.”


“Wouldn’t have been quite at home in the neighborhoods where I grew up,” said Zelda. “But then again, neither would I. They love each other. And they’re happy. That’s all I care about.”


“Jonah didn’t seem quite himself, last I checked,” said Buck. “And also, the whole voice of god thing. Is that normal for him?”


“I remember something like it,” said Zelda. “I was trapped in a place just like this. Dark. Except there’s no harps here. And Jonah rescued me, and he was like an angel. But I never knew if I was dreaming or delirious. I don’t know what’s going on with him. But he’s still my son. And he would never hurt his mama, I know that much.”


Buck was quiet for a while, and Zelda sighed.


“I never got a chance,” Buck whispered. “I just realized that you know. There was growin’ up in Fort Freedom and losin’ my folks. And then Rick bein’ leader, and Mrs. Wicker. I’m gonna die down here, and I never even got to… do anything of my own, really.”


“Well,” said Zelda, and looked over to where he roughly was in the darkness. “At least you left the place. Didn’t sit there and wonder about it forever. I’ll admit, I didn’t have being buried alive on my bingo card for this year. But life surprises you.”


There was a flash of light, then, still dim, rising from the floor of the root cavern, and a phantasmal skull with bulbous eyes was peering through the soil.


“Grandma Zelda?” said Al. “I think something bad happened.”



Marketing - Branding Roots

Lady Ethel:

With the Maidstone family safely returning to the Prime Dream, I think we should all be asking ourselves: what is the legacy of Stonemaiden?


Even before our first Dreaming Box opened its doors to the public, the Botulus Corporation was hard at work laying the technological, political, and advertorial groundwork we would need to make the Prime Dream a reality. It certainly caused a stir among certain dissidents, and few were as vocal as Valerie and her band—in a way, you could say they owe us their success. Their music was fine, but the messaging around their music? Exquisite. Just as much a work of marketing as a Botco ad. So what was the core of her brand?


The focus of Val’s work has always been about the management of power. Decrying the establishment. Being a voice for change. And in the new context of bettering our dreaming society, I think the place these messages have can be more important than ever…



Story 2, Continued - Buried Alive Bingo

I’m sorry. For a moment I was a few million light years away, watching an asteroid hatch like an egg to reveal a thousand crawling horrors, each the size of one of your ocean liners. They writhe pale and screaming in the emptiness, but in their countless vestigial eyes are reflected a starlit universe, and they smile with the awe of seeing stars for the first time.


But yes. Marketing.


We return now to Zelda Duckworth.


“Uh, Zelda? You seein’ him too?” said Buck.


“Buck, this is Al. He’s sort of my grandkid.” Zelda sniffed, and sat up. “Al, this is Buck. He’s going to stay with us a while.”


“Are you from Ford Freetin’?” said Al, with a look that would have been suspicion if Al had eyelids. “Are you a spy?”


“That’s what I thought,” Zelda shrugged.


“Don’t think so,” Buck frowned. Zelda could see a glimpse of him now by the light Al gave off. Buck was stained with mud, leg twisted at a bad angle, caught in the roots of the floor, but there was a little sparkle in his eyes anyway. “Though I did have to sneak away from the Fort. I stowed away with Frogsticker there.”


“Wow,” said Al. “I’m pretty good at sneaking.”


“Al, which bad thing were you talking about?” said Zelda. “Do you know what’s happening up there? Is anyone looking for us?”


“Haven’t been up yet,” said Al, sitting amongst the roots with his twiglike glowing limbs. “I was trying to make Russell stop crying. He was upset after the birds, and then there was all this shaking, and then we couldn’t open the door to the radio room… turns out because we’re underground.”


“Go figure,” said Zelda. “Al, you remember when we’d play Super Spy? Are you ready for another mission?”


“What’s the mission?” said Al.


“Report back on what’s happening upstairs,” said Zelda. “And… see if you can find Jonah. If he’s alright.”


“What do I get?” whispered Al, looking around.


“How about a sleepover at the McGowan’s?” said Zelda. “Once we get out of here?”


“That would be okay,” said Al. “But there’s something else too. I’d like to talk to you later about something? And I want you to really think about it, okay?”


“That’s ominous,” Zelda muttered. “But alright. Deal.”


Al nodded, and floated up to the ceiling, trailing bands of light as he vanished through the root cover.


“You people have an odd relationship with the dead,” Buck said quietly.


“I don’t know about most of the weirdos that live here,” said Zelda. “But Al’s just a kid. We kept each other company, last time I was trapped. Kinda kept me going.”


“Do you think we will make it outta here?” said Buck. “Or were you just being kind?”


“I never know,” said Zelda. “I’ve learned not to underestimate myself. But if it is my final resting place, well, it’s not the worst place to go, is it Jonah?”


“Buck,” said the boy in the darkness. “My name’s Buck.”


“Right,” said Zelda. “Buck.”


“I always figured I’d die of… I don’t know. Animals or illness or something. Lots of kids got sick, when I was growin’ up. Or they fell into the lakes or worse. Not sure I like bein’ eaten by trees much better.”


“I could fall asleep, it’s so quiet,” said Zelda.


“Don’t do that,” said Buck. “I don’t know if you’re bleedin’ or not. And I don’t wanna be down here with any more ghosts than I gotta be.”


“I think you’re alright, Buck,” said Zelda. “I haven’t been here that long, but Jonah likes these people. And everyone’s been kind. I hope there’s enough left of it to make a little home for yourself.”


“I’d like that,” said Buck. “I don’t know where else I’d go. Probably die out there.”


“Well, if you can’t find a place you belong, then you make one,” said Zelda. “Invite some others. Before you know it, it’s all the home you dreamed of. And you’ve got lots more years ahead of you. Don’t be so quick to give ‘em up.”


There was a dim light, again, as Al dipped through the ceiling into the cavern of roots.


“Well?” said Zelda. “Report your findings, agent.”


“It’s loud up there,” said Al. “All the different people screaming. I can hear them. But they’re all trapped, except for Jonah. He’s up there still.”


“Oh thank god,” said Zelda. “He just can’t stay out of trouble.”


“He’s just sitting,” said Al. “And talking with a big frog.”


“Can you give him a message?” said Zelda. “Tell him where we are. Maybe he can dig us out.”


“Okay,” said Al. “I’ll be back.”


“He does seem like a nice kid,” Buck said, as soon as Al was gone again.


“He is,” Zelda said. “You know, I think you’ll fit in just fine.”


There was a shaking, then, and soil cascaded through the roots above as the room began to tremble, and a distant point of light opened in the ceiling, as blinding as the sun...



Interlude 2 - Needlessly Complicated

Do you ever get used to it, dreamer? The odd complexities of organic life? It’s all so needlessly fiddly and complicated. Cells in a million myriad configurations, pulled together into jaws and irises and follicles and tracheas and mycelia and antlers and phosphorescent spots. I’ll admit, I thought it all rather boring and unimportant until I began to learn more about it.


It is possible, I think, to fall in love with a topic purely because of the enthusiasm of the person explaining it to you. And when he talked about connective tissue or metamorphosis or mutation, the topic of life seemed so much more… alive.


It is why I did not purely leave this world, afterwards. Why I kept an eye here, watched this planet continue to grow, like a little moss among the stones of a mausoleum, a flower blossoming over burial soil.


We go now to a dying flower.



Story 3 - A Single Pearl Earring

Two things troubled Violet Keene. Really, many things troubled Violet Keene, but most of them were only distant shadows yet on the horizon of her thoughts.


The first was that she hoped, someday, they would have a child. A daughter would be nice but she wasn’t choosy. But it took a lot of negotiation and paperwork to make that happen, and so she thought ahead as much as she could without actually saying anything, for fear of scaring away her second problem.


The second problem snored like an electrical saw, or a car with a stolen muffler, or Montreal construction. The second problem seemed to have her brows furrowed with worry, even in sleep. The second problem was beautiful in the low morning light, and Violet hoped that she’d be allowed to wake up next to that snoring, consternating woman for the rest of the days of her life.


“Stay with me, Violet,” said a voice, and Violet found the sun-dappled sheets growing dim, a darkness seeping into them from below. A surge of incredible pain, fiery sensation shot through her thigh. It was too severe to scream; she could barely breathe.


“Gosh that hurts,” said Violet—somehow each of her bones ached individually. “Where am I?”


“The answer to all that is upsetting… you’re with me, Tara McGowan. I’m going to get you all fixed up now. I don’t have anything for anesthetics here, but I need you to stay with me…”


There was another spike of pain, star-inducing, world-shattering, and Violet was in neither darkness nor bed, but in the Old Port by the water. It was Pride Day, and there were little rainbows everywhere she looked, but they did not catch her eye so much as all of the other couples holding hands. On the street, without so much as a timid glance or an apology. As if it was normal. As if it was the most natural thing in the world. It is, Violet thought, and seized Bern’s tightly. It is in mine.


It was dark again, a single burning lamp, her legs covered in blackened blood, and a woman with dirt on her face and red hair pulled back in a scarf was pressing fabric to her leg.


“I don’t like this,” said Violet. The ceiling of bark seemed to writhe and shift. She wasn’t sure if that was just her vision or not. “I want Bern. Where is Bern?”


“You shoulda seen her,” said Mrs. McGowan, with a hint of a smile, and pressed hard against the wound in Violet’s leg, everything was blinding white for a moment. “She’s got a broken arm for sure, but she sat up, shot a guy, and then went to find you. So she’s out there, I’d bet, and she’s going to want you safe…”


“Do you think we should look into adopting?” said Violet. Really, she had read quite a bit about it by this point, but there was an art to negotiation.


“Why?” said Bern. Dappled light fell over the forest trail, and it reminded Violet of the summer camps where they had first met. Bees hummed lazily in the distance, and a stream beckoned from somewhere out of sight.


“Well, I don’t know,” said Violet, following behind her wife. It was hard to imagine that beyond the peaceful expanse of the woods, there was a world falling apart. “I just think it might be nice someday. Not to be all alone.”


“I’d like to make more of a community, for sure,” said Bern, stopping to inspect a little black bird in the high branches above.


“Oh?” said Violet, holding up. The walking stick Bern had made for her was a comforting weight in her hands. “What kind?”


“Not like my family’s,” said Bern, still staring up. “Something of our own. I think about it more and more, with everything that’s happening. We could get away from it all. Go north. Build a home, homes for other people. Anyone who wants to come with us. We grew up learning all those survival skills, you know. We could make it work.”


“Alright,” Violet nodded.


“Alright?” Bern said, and looked back to her with those severe eyebrows raised.


“Let’s do it,” said Violet, and nodded to herself. “We’ll make a plan. A list of what we’d need. And we’ll recruit some people, maybe, and we’ll go.”


Bern laughed, and such music the forest had never heard. “You don’t mean that. What about your students? And your projects and everything?”


“I’m serious,” said Violet, and she stepped close and got her wife’s attention. “It would all be fine if I still had you.”


She was supposed to kiss her wife then, and Bern to give a little nod, and they would walk back into a world on fire, but Bern was gone, and the little black bird was descending from the branches, growing huge in Violet’s vision, feathers as wide and black as the night sky.


Violet was not spry either, anymore, but ancient and weary beyond her years, and her blood watered the forest floor, and she gasped for air as the gigantic bird stood over her, universes caught in its iridescent feathers. It tilted its head inquisitively. She knew what the grackle wanted.


She reached up a trembling hand, pulled a pearl earring from her ear, held it in a bloodstained palm.


“Is this enough?” she whispered; watched as the bird lowered a huge yellow eye to inspect.


The pearl was a glimmer of light in its dark pupil, and then the light grew brighter and wider, peeled around her, stripped away the leaves and the trees and the sky, and the forest floor was lifting her up into the air…


When Violet opened her eyes, she was propped up against a tree stump, a tattered blanket over her bandaged leg, and Bern’s square cheek was wet and heavy on her shoulder, one arm wrapped around her.


“Bern,” Violet mumbled, and pressed her lips to her wife’s chin. “I thought I’d lost you.”


“And I wasn’t sure if you were waking up,” said Bern, and squeezed her gently, and pressed her forehead to Violet’s. Violet stayed there for a moment, a hand on the back of Bern’s head, feeling her close. Tears rolled down her face. It was, for now, all she needed.


But a shuddering, cracking sound caught her attention, and she looked up to find herself sitting behind a gathered crowd—people she recognized, the battered remains of the Scoutpost, and the odd froglin or camo jacket of Fort Freedom. Virgil sat on a stump far off, his kid on his knee, and through the crowd she could see a couple of the Mendies, a head taller than the rest. Almost universally, the crowd was watching something beyond that she could not see.


“Bern,” she whispered. “What’s going on?”


“I don’t fully know,” said Bern, looking up. “Something strange, I think. And something new.”


And as she spoke, great roots erupted from the earth, rose into the sky beyond the crowd like outstretched fingers, seized the sky like the pines.



Outro - Roots

Roots. They say to bloom where you are planted, but know that you do not owe an ugly garden your petals. You had no choice in where your seed would split, where your first moments searching for water and nutrient would take place. And as you burst from the stones to look over the ground, you may find all around you desolate. It is only understandable if you decide to leave. To take up your roots and search for more hospitable ground, where there are others like you and the conditions are right for you to thrive.


But if you do not, dreamer—if you stay and toil, shift the heaviest rocks and split concrete as you grow, and your fruit rots and nourishes the soil, and your thorns drive pest and predator away, then when another arrives, they will find this a kinder place to grow. The garden may begin with you.


Until you lay down the spade at last to rest, I am your loyal host Nikignik, waiting fibrously for your return to the Hallowoods.



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