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  • Writer's pictureH.R Owen

Episode Ten

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Monstrous Agonies E10S01 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Ten.

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

The Presenter

-by something far, far older.

If you're just joining us, you're right on time for our advice segment, where I offer listeners advice on life, love, and all things liminal.

This week, a listener asks how to address a friend's tendency to see the worst in things.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

I hope it's alright for me to write to you – I'm not a creature myself, but the question is about a friend of mine who is and I was hoping you could give me some advice?

So. I have this friend who has some kind of... creature features. I'm not sure what. It's never come up exactly and I heard it's not polite to ask. She looks normal, but one of the side effects of whatever she is is that she can see the future. Which is fine, I'm totally fine with that, I know we all have different perspectives and what have you.

Only, sometimes she tells me about the things that she sees. Which, again, I don't really mind in itself – I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the lottery numbers! It's nice, I guess, that she's trying to include me in all that stuff? But the thing is, she only ever tells me about the bad stuff.

Like, a couple of months ago, she told me she'd had a vision of me. Well, I was flattered, obviously. And she went on and told me that she'd seen me nearly getting hit by a car in Tesco car-park. Well, I don't see why I should be told something like that. It was very intimidating! I couldn't hardly do the weekly shop for fear of it coming true.

Two weeks ago, as it happened, I did have a near miss with a Volvo, but the thing is, that night, my partner proposed to me! And I thought, well, why couldn't she have told me about that? That's a nice prediction to have, not some nasty car accident.

And she keeps doing it. She told me that my mum and I would fall out, and sure enough we had a blazing row the next weekend – and it was the same weekend that I won £100 on a scratch card, I would have liked to know about that!

It's got to the point where I don't want to hear anything she has to say about the future, since I know she'll only ruin the mood with all this negativity. But I don't want to sound like I'm rejecting her creature stuff – I really don't mind that, I've got lots of friends who are creatures. Please help!

The Presenter (as themselves)

Listener- Are you a listener? I find it hard to understand how you could regularly tune in here and still carry with you such unchecked biases. You claim to have friends in our community. If you wish to treat your friends with kindness, you must behave better.

When speaking from outside our community, you ought to refer to use as people of the night, or members of the creature community – not “creatures”. It's a small linguistic change but I assure you, it makes a big difference. In a similar vein, the phrase “creature feature” is thoroughly distasteful, as even the most cursory of Google searches would explain.

Secondly, when you say your friend “looks normal”, you are centring sapio-normative standards and dismissing the validity of other forms of being, be that physical, ethereal, or ectoplasmic. There are many kinds of 'normal'. You don't get to judge which ones do and do not 'count'.

There is nothing you can say to your friend about her predictions that won't come across negatively. Her insights are gifts given to you in the spirit of generosity. To ask her only to tell you about positive predictions would be reducing that exchange to its basest transactionality. It would be akin to receiving a thoughtful, hand-made birthday present, and asking to swap it for a new hoover.

Usually, my advice errs on the side of honest communication. I spend much of my time in this segment exhorting people to tell each other how they feel and to be honest about their wants and needs. In this case, however, I am urging you to keep these thoughts to yourself. You will come across as ungrateful and selfish, and likely hurt your friend's feelings very badly.

If you need to, perhaps take a step back from the relationship until you can engage in a more thoughtful, generous spirit. You might use that time to educate yourself on matters around cross-genus relationships and how to decentre sapio-normative values from your world view.

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

The Presenter

You're listening to the Nightfolk Network, brought to you by Cousin Jack's Adventure Pasties – a mystery with every bite!

[End background music]

The Presenter

Our second letter this evening is from a listener who worries they're being over-sensitive about a friend's language.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

There isn't really anyone else in my community nearby. There are a lot of others in the general creature community and I spend a lot of my time with some close friends who share experiences a bit like mine but it's not quite the same. I don't always feel like they're safe to be around me and we've had a lot of frank discussions about what to do if I lose control as well as making sure they always have silver on them wherever possible.

I think it makes them uncomfortable to have to talk about what to do to subdue me but I know for certain it's necessary. I've already had one incident where I've had to be stopped by force when I lost control overnight. You can imagine that it's a bit of a sore spot for me even though I'm always sure to make sure people know the risks. Even at my worst I've never bitten anyone.

The thing is, a good friend recently came back into town and we've been hanging out a little bit. My other friends asked the question about whether they need to be careful around him too and he explained that he doesn't have the same control issues as me... because he's a pure blood. Unlike me.

He's born and raised where I was infected under some fairly stressful circumstances. It, um... took a while to really be aware of what was going on, at least enough to seek treatment. And I get that the point is just a fact: he doesn't have to worry like I do. It's just that it hurt to have him put it that way when him being around felt like a little bit of... solidarity?

I don't really know how to approach the topic without either having to admit how badly I messed up with my control while he was gone or making it seem like I'm blowing everything out of proportion. Is there any way to talk to him about the language he uses or am I letting what was probably a throw away comment get to me too much?

The Presenter (as themselves)

You're not blowing anything out of proportion. If you were hurt by your friend's words, that's reason enough to talk to him about it. After all, your friends are, by definition, supposed to care about your feelings. Even if you come away from the conversation with differing opinions, it's still important that your friend knows how to make you feel comfortable in his company.

One thing I think it is important to note is that your friend is, in fact, incorrect. Generally speaking the kinds of control issues you experience are co-morbid with an acquired condition. But this is due to the fact most acquisitions are violent or otherwise traumatic. It's nothing like as superficial as 'blood purity'.

People who first transformed in positive circumstances have no higher rates of violence, and some even demonstrate more control and retention of their faculties, than those who inherited their condition. It might be helpful to inform him of this, so that he can speak more accurately in the future.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that you will likely have to be careful about your control issues for the rest of your life. That's not your fault. It doesn't make you a bad person, or say anything at all about your basic character.

You demonstrate so much care and kindness towards your friends, and by seeking treatment and being clear about your condition, you show that you take seriously the responsibility you have towards both their safety and yours.

Remember – it's your choices that make you who you are. You can't help the hand you've been dealt, but you're doing your best and your best is very good indeed.

Your friend will never have to worry about this kind of thing. But that doesn't mean he gets to dismiss your experiences, or the choices you've made about who you will be in the face of this condition.

As for the how of the conversation, I recommend having it somewhere you both feel comfortable, and concentrating on his language and how it made you feel. You absolutely don't have to share anything about your previous incident if you don't want to. That's private information and it's up to you how, when, and to whom you disclose it. I wish you all the best, and hope you can find the solidarity and support you need.

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

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network. Every where, every when, on 131.3FM

[End background music]

The Presenter

It's two o'clock on Thursday morning. Up next: urban planning and nature of evil. Milton Keynes has long been considered...

[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through static, rap music, speech and choral music before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

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

Our second letter this evening comes from a submission by Carter. Thanks, friend!

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]


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