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Episode Ninety Five

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Monstrous Agonies E95S03 Transcript

H.R. Owen

Hello, friends, Hero here. This episode includes a content warning. The first letter and its reply includes mentions of coercive control and spousal abuse. There are time-stamps in the show-notes if you'd prefer to skip ahead, so look after yourselves and enjoy the episode.

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Ninety Five.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-days of attacks-”, a voice saying “-in Kent-” and more pop music before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-small and bright and shining and unbearably cold to the touch.

We go now to our weekly advice segment. Starting things off tonight, a letter from someone looking to protect their privacy.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

I want to start by saying that I'm in a good place now. I wasn't, but I am and that's what I want to concentrate on. What happened to me was awful, and I'm still working through what it means for me, but...

[sighs] I just don't want you getting distracted and trying to talk to me about something I'm not asking you for help with. Alright? Sorry if that's rude- [sighs] No. No, I'm not sorry. Because it isn't rude, it's fair and firm and clear and if that's a problem, then it's a problem for you, not me. See? I'm doing well.

My ex is, uh. Was. Urgh. I'm getting there, I'm getting there. Um. She was abusive. [clears throat] Controlling and utterly codependent and, uh... awful. She wanted to... Sh-she, uh...

She turned me. She wanted us to be together forever. Bonded forever. I didn't want her to, but I couldn't say no to her, not then. And I'm dealing with that, I don't need you to tell me to talk to my friends, or get a therapist, or reach out to the community, alright? I-I just need some advice.

She told me- [sighs] She lied to me a lot when we were together, and I'm not always sure where the lies ended and the truth began. She told me that, as my sire, she'd always be psychically linked to me. She said she'd always be able to find me, and know what I was- [sighs] What I was thinking.

And she told me that being my sire meant she had certain rights. Things about accessing my money and information about me. Which I-I know was part of her controlling me. But it- It- It's not true. it?

Most of all, I want to know how to protect myself. Practically, legally, magically if necessary. I need to be able to close a door on this – on her – and get on with my life. What can I do?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Thank you for being so clear about your expectations and boundaries, listener. It wasn't in the least rude, and by telling me what you want, you make it easier for me to help you.

I can reassure you absolutely on one front. Your sire has no legal rights over you or information about you.

There is some history of those kinds of legal arrangements in certain liminal communities, but they have never been a part of British law and have generally been abolished in those communities where they were once in place.

I'm afraid I can't speak so unequivocally about her claim that your turning forged a psychic link between the two of you. Whether or not this is possible depends entirely on your genus.

Unfortunately, there is no unambiguous way to tell whether or not such a connection has been established – especially given your particular circumstances.

Some of the most indicative signs of psychic attachment include dreaming about one's sire; being unexpectedly overwhelmed by sudden emotions; and feeling disconnected from oneself and one's surroundings.

But as you likely know, any of these might also be symptoms of trauma, and so cannot help us very much at all. However, these links are not nearly as powerful as she has led you to believe.

The ability to share thoughts or sense one another's presence can be done through this connection, but only after a great deal of effort and practice on both sides. Think of it as a muscle that will strengthen with use or, you will be pleased to hear, atrophy with neglect.

If you are from a genus where these links can be created – and it's very worth double checking, I would certainly not take your abuser's word on the matter – then you can take steps to protect your psychic boundaries and encourage the speedy dissolution of any such connection.

There are a plethora of spells, rituals and exercises designed to shore up your psychic defenses. Shop around until you find some that work for you, and in the meantime, I recommend a simple amulet of black tourmaline or amber.

These kinds of psychic links are like a path that must be walked lest it become overgrown. As you heal from this relationship and connect with yourself and the people who love you, that path will fade, disappearing under fresh new growth.

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

The Presenter

Has the being of unimaginable power with whom you made an unbreakable pact been treating you poorly? Have they docked your pay or increased your workload without proper compensation? Did they go back on their promise of wealth and power? Or perhaps you simply want to show solidarity with your fellow workers.

Join the Familiars' Union today and get a free sticker! The Familiars' Union – they can't eviscerate us all! Proud members of the Nightfolk Network.

[End background music]

The Presenter

Tonight's second letter asks what can be done about hostility at home.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

Listen. Listen, OK?! I know nothing good usually follows this sentence but I have to say it anyway. It's not that I'm prejudiced. It's not, I swear! But I am at the end of my rope!

I bought a house. Nice house. Lovely house. Period features, fixer-upper, priced for modernisation. Oh, but it's so pretty! I saw visions of my future life – happy dog, high ceilings, sympathetic renovation. All so lovely. [nervous laugh]

I moved in. Got settled. Lick of paint here and there, but nothing drastic – nothing anyone could object to! But the longer I stayed... the more unwelcome I began to feel.

It started slowly. Building pressure in my head. [in pain] Oh, my head...! And it spread, the pain and the horror. My chest ached. I wanted to go home. But this is home. This is my home.

It's my home. And it hates me. I feel its loathing, seeping in through the walls and under the floorboards. I cannot keep warm. The radiators blast but I'm so cold. So afraid.

It watches me. Every hour, it's watching me. I wake in the night and I can't breathe, the weight of its hatred pressing down on me, pushing me back against the mattress. I hear footsteps, the creak of a stair where nobody is walking, the slam of doors but there's nobody there.

I want to be friendly. I want to live in peace with this presence. I have tried to talk to it, leaving letters, I've tried leaving offerings. I lay out apples and bowls of wine, and then I find the bowl and plate washed up and clean but I did not do it. And it makes no difference.

I wake up aching all over. My head... is so heavy. I look forward to long days at work when I can breathe easily and know that I am safe. But every evening I return home and know that I am not. I am hated. Why does it hate me?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Hm. This is a tricky one, listener. Ordinarily I would suggest that the spirit of this place – be it the genius loci itself or a spirit residing there – might be best dealt with through careful communication. I would suggest reaching out to them and demonstrating your good will, setting its mind at ease.

But you say you've already tried both verbal and non-verbal communication, and had your efforts rejected. Besides which, I can't see anything in your behaviour as you've described it to warrant this kind of extreme reaction.

I'm afraid my only advice is to bring in a specialist who might be able to mediate with the spirit on your behalf. In the meantime, I strongly suggest you explore alternative accomodation-

Wait a minute. Period features. A fixer-upper. Headaches, being watched – and the heating's been blasting. [sighs] Listener, get out of that house immediately and phone National Gas Emergencies. Your house doesn't hate you – you're suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and if you stay there another minute, it might be one minute too many.

Good grief. For anyone listening at home, let this be a reminder to please remember to explore mundane explanations for mysterious phenomena as well as liminal ones – especially if you happen to be living in a run-down old building with gas central heating.

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

The Presenter

You're listening to the Nightfolk Network, on 131.3FM.

[End of background music]

The Presenter

It's two o'clock on Thursday morning and we're talking money. The temptation to accept sudden gifts of money, gold and precious items is a difficult one to resist. But are these bargains worth the price? Keep yourself safe from curses, cons and calamity with these simple tips...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through a voice singing in Irish, a voice saying “-can you narrow that down?-”, pop music, and a voice saying, “-a rapid, unscheduled disassembly-” before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

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

Tonight's first letter was submitted by Ella K Smith, the second letter was from Art, and this week's advert came from Bug. Thanks, friends.

If you're enjoying the show, please consider supporting us on Patreon at, or making a one-off donation at You can also help us grow our audience by sharing with your friends and familiars, and following us on Tumblr, @MonstrousAgonies, and on Twitter, @Monstrous_Pod.

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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