Episode 2: lolfox

Bee:

It’s The Beacon.

Music: While Beasts Wander by Logan Nickelson.

Bee:

Um, hi there. This is...The Beacon.  It’s a podcast I’m making because, believe it or not, I have superpowers and I’m trying to find other people who might have them too.

I’m your host, Bee - like the insect.  Not like, short for another name or anything.  Since I’m not really interested in telling people my real name, I thought animal codenames might make this a little more, um…fun?  

And since I’m in my gross insectology class at the moment, I’ve kind of got bugs on the brain, hence, Bee.  

When I get someone else on the show, I’ll be sure to get some cuter names in the mix for them, like, um…Shiba or Penguin or Fennec or something...

That is, um, if I ever do get anyone else on the show…

Silent beat.

Bee:

I keep telling myself I should have expected this.  I’m new to the whole podcasting game, and...well, there-there weren’t actually a whole lot of people who actually...listened to the first episode...so I guess it makes sense that there wasn’t a whole lot of response...

But I still just feel kinda disheartened by it all of it.  I mean, I literally only got one submission to the email I set up—um, which is in the description, by the way, for anyone who wants to get in touch—um, and that one submission was just a Youtube clip of that sucky….“Earthbending” scene from the Last Airbender movie.   

Like, thanks.  I’m guessing a lot of you still don’t believe me about my situation, but you don’t have to be jerks about it.

Bee:

Sorry, I’m sorry, I’m trying to keep it positive here.  Trying.  I don’t think I’m going to get a whole lot of listeners by treating this like some kind of...mopey audio journal, so I am going to try to keep this positive and engaging whenever I can.  

Which is why I’ve got something fun planned for later this episode.  A fun little segment for us to try out! Because, after all, what would a podcast be without segments?

But first, I’m gonna check something online.

Sound Effect: Keyboard typing.

Bee:

I’m checking on this one forum about supernatural sightings.  Apparently, it’s pretty popular for the people who are into this kind of stuff, so I’ve been lurking like crazy the past few weeks trying to find something similar to my experience.  

It’s mostly just a lot of creepypastas and photoshops of cryptids on here for the “want-to-believers” who come here, but I figure that anyone who's just as new at this stuff as me and is looking for someone else can find their way here too.

I also made a post on here explaining my situation, which has, um...gotten about as many responses as the email account.  I’ve mostly just been bumping it up to try to keep it at the top of the forum in a sea of bigfoot sightings and fake telekinesis.  Before I head out here, I just want to see if anyone else has responded yet.

Let’s see…

There’s a reply here telling me to, in more polite terms, “take a flying leap,” there’s an, um—I’m assuming—sarcastic reply about how the commenter is a unicorn who can shoot lasers out of their butt…

There’s that stupid link to that Last Airbender clip again—

Ugh, this is—

Music: Exuberance in the Moonlight by Logan Nickelson.

Bee:

Oh.

Oh...

Well, that’s new…

Guys, there’s actually something on here that might be kinda—

Sound Effect: Dorm door opening.

Wolf:

Hey roomie.  Whatcha up to?

Bee:

I was just about to head out.

Transition: Fade.

Setting Change: Archery Field of Dreams.

Sound Effect: Wind in tall grass.

Bee:

Hey there again listeners.  I’m out here past the Archery Field of Dreams for a little bit of what I’m calling “Power Practice.”  

Distance/Volume: Not wholehearted in her exclamation.

Bee:

Whooo, segment, yaaaay!

Silent Beat.

Bee:

Um.

See, if you listened to episode one, then, um, you'll remember that me getting my powers might have been triggered by an attack from some sort of wolf-lizard monster thing.  

I think it was almost entirely by luck that I managed to fight off that monster the first time and if I run into it again, I want to at least be able to defend myself against it.

So, this little segment here is really all about me getting better acquainted with my powers and sort of…testing out the limits of what they can do.  I’ll try to describe the things as I’m doing them so I can keep this interesting to you and we’ll just see how it works out from there.

Okay.  I think that’s far enough into the field.  So, what I really need to do here is some training with controlling my fire.  Even though I can make this fire at will, it always seems to get away from me really easily, like a big dog that’s always straining to be let off its leash or something.  And, um, let’s just say some of the grass in this prairie can confirm that.

Sound Effect: Dry grass crackle.

Bee:

But it’s still the best weapon I have in case that monster thing comes back, so it seems worth it to try to get a handle on this.  So, I’ll just set up my targets for my first exercise—y’know, the classic tin can target practice—and then I’ll just, uh…

Sound Effect: Water pouring out from plastic jug.

Bee:

...douse this general area with the water I lugged out here so the prairie doesn’t end up so…flamey this time.

Okay, okay, okay, target practice.  Try to use small, strong, bursts of flame to knock over the cans.

Breathe in…breathe out…

Actor Sound: Released breath.

Bee:

Be the flames.  Be hot…be angry…and…

Sound Effect: Small, short flame.

Bee:

Well, that was about a candlestick’s worth of flame.  So, let’s try that again.

Sound Effect: Smaller, shorter flame.

Bee:

Oh, come on, that was even smaller than before.  Why- why can’t I just—fire!

Sound Effect: Small flame.

Bee:

Fire!  

Sound Effect: Small flame.

Bee:

Fire!

Sound Effect: Large fireblast.

Sound Effect: Grass gradually catching on fire.

Bee:

Oh, shoot, that’s on fire now.

Transition: Fade.

Bee:

Okay…okay…note to self…Next time, put targets on something other than super flammable autumn grass.  Yeah.

But now, you can see - or hear, I guess - why I need to work on my fire targeting more.  I can’t use it effectively unless I get angry and “fired up” enough, but when I get that fired up, I don’t have a lot of control over how I use it.  Kind of a snake eating its own tail of a problem.

But that’s what practice is for, right?  And you know what they say! Practice makes not accidentally setting things on fire!

Silent Beat.

Bee:

Uj, nevermind.  I’ll pick this up later and try to center myself till then.

So here’s something else I’m learning about these powers.  They’re not just pre-packaged super strong and infinite. I have to train with them, and it takes a lot of energy to do that.

But even though that’s kind of a pain to deal with, there’s something I’m still really excited to try with them.  

See, so far, I’ve been pretty limited to shooting off puffs of fire to try and hit stuff, but if you’ve ever watched any superhero movie with a pyrokinetic person, you’ve seen that there’s a lot more that people can do.  

I mean, at least, hypothetically.  But also, maybe not so hypothetically.  

What I’m saying is, um, If this big dog of a power of mine wants to be let off its leash, then I am going to do that in the coolest way I can imagine.  

Basically, today, I am going to try to fly.

Now, I did a little prep work on this one already.  Last time around, I cleared out a whole big patch of grass so there’s just dirt around and I don’t have to worry about setting anything on fire when I launch.  

Music: Ghost River by Logan Nickelson.

Bee:

So, very slowly and intentionally here, I am going to...get my feet close together so I don’t burn my own legs and, um...aim my palms flat at the ground and, um—think Iron Man takeoff style here—and, uh...heat, fire, concentrate, and...

Sound Effect: Fireblast.

Actor Sound: Bee exclaims in alarm, makes pained noises.

Sound Effect: Grass burning.

Bee:

Oh, shit, oh shit, oh shit, that’s on fire.

Transition: Fade.

Bee:

Okay...Not my proudest moment there.  I-I think I might have actually been starting to lift off a little, but then I freaked out.  My arms went out to my sides and just started spraying fire in different directions.

I, um, needed to take a moment to put out the fires that had started on the grass, but since that clip was mostly just a lot of me yelling and panicking and beating the grass with my hoodie, I’m just gonna…y’know, I’m just gonna leave out that part.

But I do think I was starting to launch myself, so I’m going to try that again.  Just this time, I’m going to try something a little different. Instead of flying Iron Man style...which I’m remembering now was only successful because he had stabilizers and a big metal suit to protect him...I’m going to try something a little messier.

I’m just going to lean down here, and aim my palms at the ground, and just see how much air I can catch from one big blast of fire.

Okay, so, focusing, focusing, heating up, not panicking this time, and...

Music: Rocketeer by Logan Nickelson.

Sound Effect: Big fireblast and wind, mixed.

Sound Effect: Land on ground.

Bee:

Oho, okay.  I-I actually caught some air!

Okay.  Lemme try it again.  Just to make sure I can.

Okay, one, two, and-

Sound Effect: Longer fireblast.

Sound Effect: Land on ground.

Actor Sound: Bee laughs joyfully.

Bee:

That was incredible!  I can actually make myself fly!  

And—and what if I can make myself go even higher?  What if I was already high enough, could I—could I do a double jump?  Maybe if I could just blast myself up into a tree and tried jumping off, I could-I could catch myself and—

Screw it, let’s try!

Sound Effect: Running through grass.

Bee:

Okay, okay, solid tree here, branch not too far up, so, let’s just try to get up there.

Sound Effect: Long fireblast.

Sound Effect: Scramble against bark

Actor Sound: Panicked scream.

Sound Effect: Heavy thud on ground.

Silent beat.

Bee:

Owwww…

Setting Change: Dorm room.

Bee:

So, um...I’m back in my dorm room now and, um…here’s what happened. I managed to blast myself pretty close up to that branch, but...not close enough to actually grab it.

I probably wasn’t even facing the right direction anyway.  I ended up just falling flat on my tailbone and now everything just kind of hurts.  I decided after that to just pack it up on the magic for the day. Or maybe the week, or...

I’m beginning to wonder if, even though I have this power, if I’m even supposed to use it. It doesn’t seem to fit all that well with me  

I mean, I don’t think I’m a forceful fire kind of person.  I don’t know if there’s more kinds of magic, but I feel like I would be better off with like, maybe, growing plants, or talking to animals or something.  

Or maybe controlling water.  At least with water, I couldn’t burn myself or... anything else...

I dunno...

But, y’know, keep it positive.  Even after all that, I’m...trying not to call today a total failure. I did get to fly, and aside from the crash landing on the last try, I-I think I did pretty good job at it.

But cool flying stuff aside, it kind of sucks that I have to watch my back every time I want to use my powers.  I still don't have anyone I can share this with one on one.

If I could even find someone to talk to online, that’d be…

Actor Sound: Bee gasps.

Bee:

That’s right!

Sound Effect: Keyboard typing.

Bee:

Right before I left for practice, I-I saw a new comment on my forum post—someone saying they understood what I was going through.  

They didn’t seem like they were joking—although, y’know, it’s the internet, so sarcasm is always kind of up in the air—and they didn’t leave any skeevy links either, so I replied to them asking if they wanted to talk more about it, and maybe they've replied back by now?

I mean, I’m not saying I think I found another person like me this easily, but if they could be like me—I-I have to check, right?

Oh, okay.  Here we are.  And…they replied!  And they say they want to talk privately!  

Okay, okay, keep it cool, Bee.  This could be nothing. This could just be some creepy internet troll…

Silent Beat.

Bee:

But it could be something real.

Okay, I’m-I’m sending them a chat.

Sound Effect: Continued keyboard typing throughout the scene accompanying Bee’s messages.

Okay, what’s a good opener?  What’s a good opener here?

What’s a good thing to say to a potentially superpowered ally?  Like, um, “Howdy there, super friend? Please tell me you can do freaky magic stuff too?”

I’ll just say, “hi there, i saw you replied to my post about having superpowers.  wanna talk about it?”

Aaaaaand send.  I don’t know if they’re online right now, or how long it’ll take them to read this, so I might just pause the recording now and get back—oh!  They’re typing already!

They said-oh, should I have some kind of voice for them?  Maybe, just, lower my voice a little, um, uh...“yes, hi. you said you just found out you have some kind of magical power.  is that right?”

Okay, I’ll say, “yes, that’s true.  i’ve had it for about a month now. you said you get what I’m going through.  is that true too?”

And they say…“yes.  I have a power too.”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

That’s, um...that’s, that-

“how long have you had it?  also, who are you? also how do I know you’re being serious here?”

They say, “i’ve had my powers for almost 10 years now.  Also, I can’t tell you who I am unless you tell me who you are.”

Oh.  Um, yeah, I-I guess that's only fair. Also, wow…ten years.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. To have to keep a secret like that...to have to be alone for that long…

I’ll ask, “do you at least have a name I can call you?”  I’d just use their username normally, but I don’t want to give it away to the whole internet and get them trolled too.

And by the whole internet, I mean the 12 people who actually listened to the first episode.

They say, “you can call me what you like.”

Uh, okay then.  I’ll just dip into my compendium of cute animal names, and I’ll go with… “Can I call you Fox?”

They say “Fox is good.”

“Fox, I’m Bee.  I know this is sudden, but can you actually prove you do magic or have these powers?  By the way, what’s your word for it? I’m still trying to nail down the terminology.”

They say, “Magic.  I think it's magic.  We can't explain it, so it's magic anyway.”

Well, okay then.  Magic it is.

They say, “I can prove myself as well as you can.  You tell me something you think only you know about magic and I’ll tell you something I think only I know.”

I suppose that’s fair too.  I guess they don’t have any more reason to believe me than I have to believe them.

Let’s see…what do I know about magic that I didn’t talk about in the first episode...

Okay, “When you use magic, you can tell it’s coming from somewhere deep inside you, and you have to really concentrate to use it.  It's not something you could just turn on with a magic wand or by reciting a spell. You really have to feel it to use it.”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

They’re not typing anything yet.

Maaaaybe they’re a slow reader?  Maybe I didn’t explain it that well?  Maybe they think I’m a fraud. Maybe they’re a fraud and they don’t know what to say.  Maybe—oh, they’re typing again.

Fox says, “Yes, that’s how I feel it too.  I'm just trying to think of what else to say.  It's like…”

Oh, come on, please get it.  Please be real, please be real, please be real.

Fox says, “But it's not exactly a part of you. Even though you can feel it inside, it's more like the stream that passes through a riverbed instead of the blood you're born with in your veins.  You can't just flex it like a muscle. You have to pull it up like water from a well.”

That's exactly it!  That’s exactly how it feels.  Guys, I think Fox is the real deal!

I’ll say, “And when you do use it, it's like something completely powerful and almost completely out of control, except for the fact that it feels like it’s pulling from the very core of you right up until the moment it disappears.”

“dot dot dot”

They literally just wrote—okay, there’s more.  They say, “You really have this too, don’t you?”

“I promise, Fox.  I do. I’m real.”

Oh my god.  Have I really found someone—

They say, “I can’t…”

Actor Sound: Bee falters.

Bee:

“I can’t believe I finally found someone like you.  I’ve been looking for years. I can't believe it.”

“I’ve been looking for just weeks, but it feels like years.”

“lol”

God, they literally just typed “lol.”  I didn’t think anyone actually used that seriously anymore.  

But they did.

I’ll say, “I have so many questions.  What is this power? How did we get it?  Are there others like us? Do we have a Hogwarts?”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

They’re taking a while to type again.

Silent Beat.

Bee:

Are they not a Harry Potter fan?

Silent Beat.

Bee:

They say, “You seem really nice, Bee.  At least, from your show. I’m glad I found someone like you and there’s so much I want to tell you about magic and about us.”

“I’m glad I found you too.  Just think of what we could do with two of us!”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

They say…

Oh, um…

They say, “Can you show me your magic?”

Uhh…

I’m not sure what to type now.  Uh, they’re going again.

“I haven’t seen anyone with magic in ten years.  Please?”

Um, well, maybe Fox would appreciate a good cliché, so, um, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours ;)”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

Oh god, I put a winky face at the end.  Why did I do that? I shouldn’t have winky-faced.  I—

They say, “I have a lot more to lose if the wrong people find out about my powers.  I need to make sure you’re the right person.”

I…what?  “Fox, who’re the ‘wrong people?’  Is there someone after you? After people like us?”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

They’re not responding.

“Fox, I’ll show you my power.  I want to help us out, if I can.  I want to understand this, but you have to know, I’m scared too.  I don’t know what any of this means.”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

They’re not responding.  “Fox, if you could just-”

They’re still not responding.  Oh god, I hope they haven’t—

“Fox, I’ll send you a video.  This makes me scared but…I don’t want you to be alone.”

Okay, I’m going to get out my phone and this little stick I've been using to practice control with.  And if I set this on fire in my hand, it should convince them, right? And then—

Oh.  They finally responded.

And it says, “Wait.  Don’t send anything.”

Silent Beat.

Bee:

It says, “This was a mistake.  I’m sorry.”

“Fox, it’s okay.  You don’t have to be sorry.”

I don’t know what else to say to them!  Did I do something wrong? I just want to make friends with someone like me.  What do I have to say to -

Silent Beat.

Bee:

Oh god, oh god...

Fox left the chat.

Fox...

Please come back.

Fox?

Transition: Fade.

It’s been…two days since I talked to Fox and it...it seems like they’re just...gone.  They didn’t just leave the chat. They deleted their profile on that website. No duplicate or similar usernames anywhere else online as far as I can tell.  They’re just…they’re just gone.

They’re gone and it’s my fault.  I finally found someone else like me, and I scared them off because I didn’t trust them enough, because I was too scared, and now we’re...now we’re both alone.

If I’d-if I’d just sent that video a little sooner, Fox-Fox might’ve…

Silent Beat.

Bee:

I think I know now that there are others like me.  And that we can find each other.  But Fox was scared of something else.  There’s a giant monster out there in the woods and that may not even be the worst thing hunting us.

Maybe I can find Fox again, and other people with magic too.  I-I just have...I just have to keep trying. Okay? I just have to keep trying.  I have to. I have to.  

Music: While Beasts Wander by Logan Nickelson.

If you hear this, know that there is hope.  We can find each other. We don’t have to be afraid.

But until we can make that happen, this is The Beacon, telling you that we are not alone.

Credits, read by Claudia Elvidge:

The Beacon is written and produced by Claudia Elvidge.  The voice of Bee’s roommate is Sarah Ruth Thomas. For more information, visit thebeaconpodcast.com or follow us on Twitter @thebeaconpod.

Want another audio drama to hold you over till our next episode?  Try Exoplanetary. It doesn’t have any wolf monsters, but it does have the Wolverton siblings on a thrilling trek through time and space.  We think you’ll like it.