Episode 6: PTO
The following audio recording is classified documentation for case (static) with The Enclosure, unauthorized access to this information will lead to immediate intervention. Progress further if proper clearance has been given.
Guess who got vacation? That’s right, me.
After days of online research and two times poking around the local school, I finally got that time off. I had to pester Todd about it for a while, but I got it. He didn’t even call or email me about it, his secretary did. We’ll just assume that he was uh…just ‘too busy’ to get around to telling me…
So guess what I did today? Nothing. And yesterday? Oh, a whole load of nothing. And what do I have planned for tomorrow? More glorious nothing. I got a whole week off and I plan to spend at least most of it relaxing at home. I don’t even want to change out of my PJs.
After I shower, I’ll just put on other PJs. No- not shower, I’ll take baths. I got homemade bubble baths from the Chronicle Inn shop recently that I’ve been waiting to use.
Holly texted me earlier, which was nice. I haven’t really talked to them much, at least not in a while. Originally they were just asking if I planned to go out to a…an upcoming bonfire, before it gets too cold to really do much outside. And it was really nice to just tell them the full honest truth, that I’d been given a week off of work and I really didn’t feel like going out and doing anything. It…just the idea of staying home and doing basically zilch sounds amazing.
They then asked if they could call, which was equally nice as it was nerve-wracking; nice because I liked the heads-up for a call, but anxiety-inducing because I had no idea why they wanted to call, I said sure though, I had no reason not to. I think we talked for like an hour, just about whatever, as it normally goes with them.
We went from one topic to another really quickly. It’s nice to have someone that I can just flow from one topic to another with without having to explain my thought process, they just follow suit…or, more often, take the lead in the leaps—
They told me about their job as a volunteer at the local school. Unlike me, they get along great with kids, always have, hence why they worked the Snipe Hunt a little while ago. They heard about me looking into the haunting a few weeks ago, so I told them a bit about it, excluding the whole Enclosure business card thing. I also mentioned that I was finally given some paid time off work and they asked if we wanted to hang out…so uh, guess in a few days I’m having a movie night with Holly. They’re going to show me some of their favorites, things I’ve never seen. One’s called ‘The Room’? Apparently it’s so bad that it’s somehow good.
I guess we’re watching that later this week, and they’re going to introduce me to some video games that they like. After we made plans for movie night, I heated myself up some lunch and settled down in front of the TV.
After lunch and a few episodes of whatever show was playing, I decided to just sit and check in a little bit, do a little recording…
So my research with the old business card led me to a ‘Dr. Severin Kelder’ at The Enclosure, right? Well, when I looked further into him at work, I actually found out that he passed away like twenty or thirty years ago. Apparently he was working on some top-secret project that I couldn’t find the details on, but I could find more recent projects that reference Dr. Kelder’s work…so whatever it was that he learned or created, people are still using it in their studies of The Enclosure.
It’s for branches and projects that I don’t have access to, so I kept getting asked for passwords that I don’t have. I…I could ask Dr. Loma– Milo…promised them I’d be more casual with them now. I could ask Milo if they know anything. I mean, even though we aren’t lab partners anymore we’re still friends, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind helping out…
Maybe I could ask Jamie? But she and I aren’t really close. Would that be weird? And I really doubt that Dr. Castillo would be at all interested in really helping, she doesn’t really want to talk about anything outside of our current projects…not as chatty.
I have a therapy session with Dr. Daman right after I get back from vacation, but I have no clue if I want to talk to her about this. She’d probably call my fixation on it ‘unhealthy’ or whatever, but I need to get to the bottom of whatever this is…and that smell…
When my brain fixates on things, it’s really hard to just think or even talk about anything else, it’s as if my brain has focused in so hard that nothing else exists, and nothing else matters, unless something else sweeps in and snaps me out of it.
It could be really helpful when my brain decides to fixate on work and things I need to do, but it can be so infuriating when it…I focus on the song I heard on the radio, or a book that I read when I’m trying to get work done.
I think Dr. Daman has been getting frustrated with my lack of progress, but what am I supposed to do? I’m not having much luck with remembering, but, hey, I’m using the audio journal more regularly, so that’s good. It does feel like it’s helping, even if I’m not remembering much about myself, at least I’m learning about myself? And Milo said that’s what’s most important, more important than remembering, because they said that things have inevitably changed, as is human nature.
I still want to remember though, and I feel like Milo understands that better than Dr. Daman. But I guess it’s a good thing that I’m learning about myself, I mean if nothing else I’m not as chronically uncomfortable as I used to be, even learning these little things.
I think I’ll talk more to Holly when we hang out though, there’s things that I think they may be able to help me with. I’d like to talk to Darius but I don’t know if, um…
(pause, sound effect of scratching at the door)
Hold on, there’s something at my door.
(sound of door opening & birds chirping)
Oh…hey buddy…uh, no collar, huh? Oh…oh– I guess you’re coming in…excuse me.
(sound of door closing, Jared comes back over to the mic)
Okay, so there’s a dog, a dog in my house. A black lab?…no, its features are a bit too pointed, almost like a shepherd of some kind…it’s docile, and has just laid by my feet.
There’s no collar, and I’ve never seen this dog before, so I don’t think he’s from around here…his eyes are a little strange. I’ll admit, I’ve never had a dog just make itself at home in my house before.
(Leans down to pet the dog)
Uh…who’s a good boy? Huh…are you even a boy? That’s a weird assumption for me to make. Considering that you’re just a dog who basically knocked, then let yourself in.
Either way, the dog is super sweet. Do you have a name? Um…Grove? How does that sound? You look like a Grove.
So…I guess I have a dog. Unless someone claims him…her…them? Uh…
Don’t look at me like that! Gendered language annoys me, okay? That’s why I like talking to Holly and Milo so much- they both really don’t conform to what society puts on them and they seem to be more aware of other ways that things can be.
Ways that The Enclosure didn’t teach me, that’s for sure. I mean, why do people keep saying I’m ‘one of the guys’? I like being included, yeah, but…I don’t know…I don’t…just don’t see myself as ‘one of the guys’, it carries implications…I don’t mind being called sir or whatever, but it’s…ahem.
I’m talking gender…with a dog—
…oh shoot, what do I feed you? Should I call around and see if anyone’s looking for their dog? What do you want to eat? I need to look into how to take care of a dog…would Darius know how?
Okay, hold on, gotta make some calls…I might have to change out of my PJs and run some errands, I’ll be back soon–
(Click, pause, then Jared returns)
Okay, back. So, Grove hung out in my yard the entire time I was gone. He actually responded well when I called him boy, so we’re gonna go with that. He greeted me with a wagging tail and then followed me back inside, he’s a big dog, like the top of his head goes to about my upper hip.
I got a range of things– wet dog food, dry dog food, treats, toys, the biggest dog bed they had, and honestly a bunch of stuff, I had to make multiple trips to bring it all in. I mean considering I don’t know if I’m keeping this dog maybe it was a bit overkill, but having him around feels nice. It feels right.
I did text Holly to make sure that they’re not allergic to dogs or anything since it seems that I’m taking in a dog, at least for the time being, and apparently they love dogs, so that’s- that’s good…that’s good.
Uh, I put the dog bed near my bed and put out a bowl of dog food, but he doesn’t really seem too interested in the wet or dry dog food. He seems to like the homemade treats though. I remembered that Ester sold them, so I made sure to make a second stop and stop by the Chronicle Inn to pick up some of those dog treats. But Grove doesn’t seem at all interested in the food, but the fact that he likes the treats indicates that he does have an appetite.
What do you want to eat, buddy? Listen, I can’t just feed you dog treats, that can’t be healthy–
Ugh, why is he calling me? I’m on vacation…
(Grove starts to bark)
Oh…Grove? It’s okay, it’s just my phone, I- oh shit–
(Grove starts to growl)
Grove calm down, relax– I’m not, I’m not answering it, I’m not…
Oh, Grove, you don’t fit in my lap.
You’re much…you’re much too big…down…back down on the floor, please, we both won’t fit in this chair–
Hey…hey not the key, leave the key alone, the key stays on–
(Grove starts growling)
Grove, Grove, down! Oh gods, Grove, down! Back down!
(more shuffling, Jared left out a shaky sigh as Grove seems to settle down)
Good boy…okay…seems I– okay.
So, I think I know why Grove wouldn’t eat the dry dog food but would eat the treats…meat, he needs meat. That would explain the eyes earlier, and why he lingered outside of my house of all places- without a collar–
Uh, oh shit–
(more growling, Jared grabs the recorder and starts running, heavy breathing, slams the door behind him and dog starts barking)
Oh…I don’t know what happened, I don’t know if it was the phone vibrating that set him off or what.
(Grove makes noises in the distance)
He was fine until he sniffed the key, he’s way too big to be getting in my lap and then when he started sniffing the key around my neck, and then, then he got mad, he started snarling, smoke came out of his mouth and his eyes–
His eyes started to glow red, and for the briefest moment I smelled putrid rotting flesh. The smell of death. Seems that my new buddy is a hellhound.
(Grove continues to growl and bark in the distance)
I thought he was going to attack me, he sure seemed like it, went for my throat.
But now, he’s not even scratching at the door anymore, he’s whining. He sounds so sad.
Grove, are you done chasing me? I’d really rather not die again so soon, okay? So you’re gonna relax, right?
(sound of door opening, Grove whimpers then starts sniffing in a happy way)
Good boy, good boy! No biting, no jumping, how about we sit?
(dog noises calm down)
That’s a good boy. You…you know ‘sit’!
Good. He’s okay. He’s calm now, leaning into my touch and everything, no more smoke. His teeth are more of a…mortal dog-shaped size again? His eyes aren’t glowing anymore. Jeez, I’ve got no idea why he was set off so badly by my necklace.
I mean, yeah- I assume that the key has magical properties which is how it keeps my brain in check, but I don’t know why that would have set him off…
It’s okay buddy, not gonna hurt you, it helps me. Let’s get you some food…okay, so we’re gonna try some meat. I don’t know if I have it…I don’t really have much that’s raw, only a little bit that I got for a casserole that I plan to try and cook, but I can go get more meat– you gotta eat…I don’t mind putting off cooking.
(Sound of Jared setting the dog bowl dog and a door opening and closing, then the sound of Grove eating)
Okay yeah so…uh…raw meat is what he eats.
Why is a hellhound so far from the cemetery out in the middle of the day like this? There’s all sorts of creatures that come by my house all the time, but this one is a bit strange, I mean the black eyed children and the not-deer, yeah, those make a bit more sense. They’re generally wanderers and I do live by the roads and by the forest.
But a hellhound? Y’all normally linger near cemeteries and churches, right? And I don’t live near a church or a cemetery.
The weirdest thing is that when he’s not trying to bite my neck out, his presence is really soothing…I don’t know, it’s like he belongs here. As long as you ignore the whole key thing, he’s really lax with me, and I’ve never seen a hellhound act so domesticated, especially considering how they normally are with people.
But hey, if nothing else, at least this means that you probably don’t have someone looking for you. So I guess it wasn’t too much of an issue that the clerk at the store talked me into buying all of this stuff for you.
…hey, don’t, don’t…don’t look at me like that, I panicked. I’ve never taken care of a dog before, and you’re…you’re a big dog. Sharing the bed with you would be like sharing a bed with a whole other person, and I can’t just make you sleep on the hard floor, so I got you the bed…I guess I didn’t need to get all of that dog food especially since you won’t even eat any of it- ugh, whatever. Okay, we’ll make this work…
I mean even if disguised as a normal, albeit big dog, it’s weird that he’s out and about during the day. I mean, the black-eyed children yeah, now and then come out during the day, Not-Deer, yeah they’re not really restricted to either time of day, but hellhounds?
I guess I gotta do some more research, huh? Okay…well, hey, if nothing else at least I have the resources to look into how to take care of a hellhound…that’s not true. I have the information on what hellhounds are, where they are, what they do, how to restrain them. But I don’t have the information on how to take care of them. They normally take good care of themselves–
I guess you’re gonna teach me something, huh? Well, we’ll learn together. If nothing else, it’ll be nice to have someone else here, someone that I am not required to talk to if I don’t want to. Someone that we can just…share space. It’ll be nice to not be alone.
I’m gonna probably have some ice cream and watch a movie this evening. Here soon I’ll be doing the movie night with Holly, which is nice. And oh god, okay, I didn’t tell Holly about the whole ‘children knocking on my door’ thing. I guess I’m gonna have to give ‘em a heads up of some kind. “Hey, just a warning, I have ghost children that knock on my door. Every night. Hope you sleep deep!”
Whatever, I’ll let them know, and I’m sure they’ve heard of weirder…we’ll see. So much for doing nothing…but at least it’s not work. Maybe I’ll message Darius and see what he’s up to this evening.
I’m gonna go eat that ice cream and watch a movie first.
So this is Dr. Jared Hel, signing off.
Come on, come on buddy!
“Jar of Rebuke” is written and produced by Casper Oliver, who is also the voice of Dr. Jared Hell.
The intro is read by Vanessa Rosengrant, and credits are read by Ashlee Craft who has created the podcast’s official graphics.
Music was created by Luke Menniss (spelled M-E-N-N-I-S-S), who you can find and support on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Twitch.
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