top of page
  • Writer's pictureH.R Owen

Episode Four

Listen to:

Download PDF:

Download PDF • 68KB

Monstrous Agonies E04S01 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Four.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls past German speech, swing music, and English speech before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-will never, in any meaningful way, know love.

You're listening to the UK's number one radio station for people of the night and other members of the creature community. It's almost two o'clock, which means it's time for our advice segment, where I answer questions from listeners about all aspects of liminal living.

Our first question tonight comes from a listener worried that a lapse in manners might have disasterous consequences.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

There aren't many jobs that put you face to face with the full spectrum of society. Taxi drivers, though – we see it all! I've had everyone in my cab over the years, celebrities and politicians and a whole host of colourful characters getting up to all sorts of mischief.

Of course, every cabbie has their horror stories. Drunk students, football thugs, fare dodgers. And we all know a friend of friend who got hexed by an unhappy customer or taken for a joy ride by a malignant – or just bored – spirit.

You do what you can to stay safe. I have a screen between the front and the back seats, I limit how much cash I keep in the car, and I have several amuletic tattoos about my body to help protect me against curses and possession.

It's nothing ideological. As long as you keep things civil, pay your fare, and don't make a mess of my upholstery, I don't care if you've got three heads or none. And it's not like being human's some kind of guarantee you're not an arsehole. It's just protection against an occupational hazard. I'm sure other listeners will be able to relate.

I recently went to get a new mark – a protective sigil against invocations of the Furies. I went to a new tattooist to get the work done, and while I was there, she commented on the apotropaic witch-marks emblazoned on my forearm.

It turns out, she was a witch. She was perfectly polite about it, but the tattoo isn't healing great and I'm worried that I've been cursed as a result of this social faux-pas. How can I make amends to her, before the curse does too much damage to my arm?

The Presenter (as themselves)

First things first, listener – I strongly recommend you get a second opinion. There are all sorts of reasons a tattoo might not heal the way you would expect, so you'll want to rule out mundane issues like infection or a lack of technical skill on the part of the artist before you go any further.

Once you've exhausted the mundane explanations, then you can start working through the arcane. Seek out a practitioner whom you trust to make a thorough assessment of the tattoo in order to ascertain exactly what is causing the mark to heal badly.

One possibility that springs to mind is that any magic involved in the tattooing process was done for purely innocent reasons, or even unconsciously.

Witchcraft is, after all, largely about channelling intent. Any good tattooist wants their work to heal well and remain clean. As a witch, your artist's intentions for her work carry a little more weight than most, metaphysically speaking.

In this case, it could be that your prior tattoos are causing interference with her intentions. That is what they're designed to do, after all. If that's the case, you'll need to talk to the original artist about removing her craft, and likely get the work redone by a non-practitioner.

It would be incredibly unethical, both as a tattoo artist and as a witch, for her to have cursed you while she was working on you. Of course, something being deeply unethical hardly means it's impossible.

But I would be very wary of making an accusation of intentional malpractice without good evidence. This is someone's professional reputation, after all, to say nothing of the risk of retribution.

Thankfully, if the work is cursed, and the cursed laid on with malice and forethought, your path is relatively clear. Find a practitioner to lift the craft, an artist to redo the tattoo, and a qualified attorney explore your legal options.

Stay tuned for our second letter after a word from this week's sponsor.

[An acoustic guitar plays a blues riff]

The Presenter

At Express Removals, we understand what it means to leave in a hurry. Whether you're escaping an angry mob or a Wild Hunt, our dedicated team has you covered, with 24/7 pick-up and delivery, and special non-linear services for customers in alternate timelines. Full packing and unpacking services are available, and all our drivers are fully licensed for the transportation of exanimate items. Get your quote online today. Express Removals – for when you've just got to get gone.

[An acoustic guitar plays a second, different blues riff]

The Presenter

Our second letter tonight is from a listener with big changes in their future.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

My girlfriend and I recently got engaged after being together for three years. We haven't set a date – I think she proposed more to make a statement about commitment and intention rather than hurrying us along to the actual wedding bit.

Now that she's asked, though, I've been thinking things over. I'm due for a pretty dramatic transformation in the next few years, essentially moving into my imago or adult form. I'm not certain when it'll be, but I'm expecting it in the next two years or so.

It's a bit frightening, but also kind of exciting – like I finally get to meet the person I've been growing into all this time.

But I'm a bit... insecure about it. My girlfriend is from a different genus to me, and I don't think she's ever fancied people who've metamorphosed before. She's never mentioned it, anyway.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we should we postpone the wedding until after I'm... done. It sounds silly, but... [sighs] Well, what if she doesn't like me any more?

And, besides, won't it feel strange, looking back on the photos and seeing myself looking like a completely different person? I don't know how long we'll have to wait, it's not really an exact science, and I don't want to look like I've suddenly come over commitment-phobic. I love her so much. What should I do?

The Presenter (as themselves)

I'm afraid there's a limit to how much advice I can give you. At the end of the day, I can't make this decision for you. It's something you're going to have to work out yourself. That said, a few things stick out that I think you could do with hearing.

The first is that nobody looks back on their wedding photos and sees the same person they are today. A photograph is a moment captured. They are precious because they hold a little piece of the past, and who we once were. Seeing how much you've changed, or the ways you haven't, is kind of the point.

Secondly, there is no way to know what your girlfriend will feel about your body after your transformation. She may never have been attracted to bodies like yours before. She may never be attracted to other bodies like yours. That does not preclude her attraction to your body. To be clear, the body of the person she loves, and with whom she wishes to build a life.

Talk to her. Tell her how you feel. Reaffirm your commitment to your relationship and give her the chance to support you.

You are going to change. So is she. Some of those changes will be dramatic, some of them quiet, some blinking fast and some taking decades. Life is a series of becomings, never completed until life itself is complete.

Whatever you decide to do, whether you prefer to marry before or after this particular transition, I hope you can learn to embrace the people you become, even as you say goodbye to the people you were.

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

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network, on 131.3 FM.

[End background music]

Now, as many listeners I'm sure will be aware, today marks the anniversary of one of the most significant events in the history of the creature community in Britain. It is, of course...

[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through inaudible French speech and static before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

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

This week's episode includes our first listener submission, from Matt Hopkins, whose submission became tonight's first letter. Thanks, Matt!

You can submit your own monstrous agonies online at, by email at, or find us on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies.

You can support Monstrous Agonies by leaving a review on iTunes, sharing the programme with your friends and familiars, or supporting us on Patreon at

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]


bottom of page