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  • Writer's pictureH.R Owen

Episode Fifteen

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Monstrous Agonies E15S01 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Fifteen.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through piano music, pop music and inaudible speech before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-under cover of night, and a really big golf umbrella.

Next tonight, the UK's only dedicated radio advice programme for people of the night and members of the creature community, after this word from our sponsor.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network – brought to you by Mytikas DNA Tests, specialists in cases of divine conception. Whether you fell pregnant through a rain of golden coins or sprang fully formed from the sea foam, we can help you prove divine parentage. Mytikas DNA Tests – it was probably Zeus!

[End background music]

The Presenter

Our first letter tonight is from a listener who asks what to do about some recent revelations in their personal life.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

I don't have what you'd call a quiet life. I like to keep myself busy, little projects here and there. I suppose other people might call them “schemes”, though I could do without that particular unsolicited value judgement. And really, whomst amongst us hast not schemt from time to time?

And the truth is, I only come through on about 60% of my... endeavours. That's the way of it - things go wrong. Plans get scuppered. Collaborators get cold feet. Traps spring, sigils break, doohickeys don't-hickey.

I once spent a month trekking into the wilds of northern Lapland, hunting down Väinämöinen's sword to complete a ritual I was working on, only to find someone had got there before me and swapped it out for She-Ra's Sword of Power. Plays the theme tune when you press the jewel in the middle. Quite a lot of fun, actually.

There's one woman in particular who I've butted heads with a number of times over the years. She's sharp as anything, wit like a whip crack. Wicked sense of humour, too – I'm almost certain the sword was her, it's just like her.

She is a bit glum, though. Needs loosen up a bit, you know? She's always so... intense. Like camping.

This brings me to my point, actually. You see, I've been running a little import/export operation for the last few years, I'll spare you the details, if you don't mind. Things got a bit hot and I decided to quit while I was ahead. And if you happen to notice a sudden dearth of ferryman's coins on the market in the next few months, trust me – the alternatives were worse. For me. Personally.

Anyway, I found myself at a loose end. And I suppose I was wanting to see a friendly face. Well, not friendly, exactly. Familiar. So I broke into her apartment.

Don't worry – it's like, an in-joke for us. Like it's just this bit we do sometimes. I break into her apartment, she sets a trap for me, I turn out to have known about it all along, et cetera, et cetera.

Except this time, I guess she really didn't know I was coming. She wasn't even in. There's me, sneaking about in my best boots o' silence, and turns out she's on a mindful eating retreat in Wicklow. Bit of a let down, really.

I helped myself to can of pop from the fridge, had a rummage through the desk drawers. The usual. And then... Well, I must have hit a hidden button or something, because before I knew what was happening, the whole back wall of her study span round and revealed a great big wall... of me.

There were reconnaissance photos, and sketches of me – rather nice ones – and a big world map covered in pins where I'd been or that she thought I might go to, the whole thing covered in bits of string leading to newspaper clippings and these mad notes she'd been scribbling. Like I said. Intense.

I didn't really know what to do. I pressed the button, put it back to normal. Finished my pop. Just went home after a bit. Suppose I was in shock, really.

It's just... I never knew she felt that way. Have I been such a fool? Right under my nose, this whole time. I mean, you hear about this sort of thing in stories and movies, but you never think it'll happen to you. I never thought it would happen to me. The one. A real, true... nemesis!

Should I say something to her? Let her know I know? Or would that just embarrass her, bringing it out into the open like that? What do I do? And what if... Well, what if I... feel the same way... about her?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Well, listener, that sounds like a lot to take in. My first piece of advice is to take things slowly. The revelation of your associate's feelings towards you is something you will need time to process. I advise against making any rash decisions while you're still in the throes of your initial, emotional reaction.

That isn't to say that emotions have no place in your decision-making. In fact, they're really the only thing that makes a difference.

Becoming someone's nemesis is at once a great commitment, and yet not something one has complete control over. It cannot be done by degrees, or without the proper depth of feeling behind it. It is, after all, that very depth of feeling that distinguishes the true nemesis from the run of the mill antagonist. By the same token, though, if those feelings are already there, resisting them will only lead to misery on both your parts.

Your first priority, then, is to explore your feelings. Can you imagine yourself as her nemesis, and she as yours? Are you prepared to commit to your nemesis relationship, forgoing smaller enmities for something so much larger than the sum of its parts?

Once you have these answers, you need to bring this up with you associate directly. How and when you do this is up to you – you know better than I how she will prefer to conduct the conversation.

This is an intensely vulnerable situation for her, made all the more so by the imbalance that your discovery has brought to the relationship. Treat her with the respect she deserves as your fondest foe. And if you discover that you do, indeed, share her feelings – congratulations! There is nothing quite like letting a true nemesis into your heart.

Next tonight, a letter from a listener finding it hard to connect with the people around them after an accident at work.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

Forgive format, limited resources. Stop. Misadventure with routine world line maintenance. Slipped loose. Still loose. Still falling, up and down. Stop. Grip on here-now good, but won't last. Stop. Temporal anchor not up to code. Health and safety nightmare. Union says claim in process, but slow. Stop. Resigned to fate. Stop. Plus side – still sick pay, if can access account. Stop. Bit lonely though. How make friends when only passing through? Still count, if only temporary? How love short-term? End of message.

The Presenter (as themselves)

I hope this finds you well, listener, where and whenever it finds you. I'm sorry to hear about your accident, but I'm sure your union is working hard on your behalf to see that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Loneliness is a very real risk in a transient lifestyle, especially when that transience is not a choice of your own. Even leaving aside your own lack of personal support network, some communities are more willing to accept newcomers than others, as I'm sure you've found, and the stress of perpetual culture shock must be exhausting.

There are things you can do to mitigate these problems but they require a certain amount of energy and resilience on your part. I understand if those feel in short supply sometimes. Do let yourself rest when you need to.

When it comes to making friends, there is no easy solution. You simply have to put yourself out there. How you do this will depend on the time period, and the associations people have with your perceived form. I'm sure you know by now the importance of taking into consideration other people's perception of your gender, race and wealth when stepping into new spaces. Remember that your safety is paramount.

With that in mind, I encourage you to seek out opportunities to meet people whenever you are. The temptation may be to retreat, step back from the world, reasoning that, since you can't put down roots, you may as well not bother. I urge you to you resist that temptation. Throw yourself in and embrace the world as you find it.

Love is not a finite resource. There is no reason to be stingy. Love liberally and let yourself be loved in return. You ask how to love in the short-term, but I don't think that's how it works. You don't stop caring about someone just because they're not in front of you.

Carry your friendships with you as you travel, grieve as necessary, rest as necessary, and remember that the people you meet are better for having met you, however briefly.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network – broadcasting all the time, for all time.

[End background music]

The Presenter

The time is two o'clock on Thursday morning. Stay tuned for our run-down on the best keratin supplements for healthy hair, hooves and horns...

[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through inaudible speech, music, and a voice saying “-that the best answer-” and static before fading out.

Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]

H.R. Owen

Episode Fifteen of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

To submit your own letters and suggestions, head over to our website at, email us at, or find us on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies.

Hello to our newest supporter on Patreon, Steph B – thanks, friend!

If you'd like to support the programme, head over to, where you can pledge as little as £1 a month. You can also show your support by rating and reviewing us on iTunes, and sharing the programme with your friends and familiars.

This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.

Thanks for listening, and remember - the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.

[Fade to silence]


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