Autumn Whitlock's Journal

Just a bundle of cassettes



A dusty bundle of cassettes handed to you by a mysterious figure in a wide brimmed hat, each marked in an ascending order.

A Party For The Ages!

Rec.1 - Not my kind of party.


You slide a cassette into the dusty old tape recorder, it's marked


"Rec.1 - Not my kind of party"


You press the red button marked play, it's stiff and doesn't give easily - but you knew that already.

After some struggling you hear a satisfying




After a few seconds you see the cassette start spinning with a quiet whirr of the cogs, then you hear some shuffling followed by a soft sigh as a feminine voice crackle out of the speakers, the quality is less than stellar but still perfectly intelligible.


The woman sounds serene if tired, like someone who just came back from a long, exhausting shift at work.


"I don't suppose I will be letting any suspicious butlers into my house, much less touch any unmarked envelopes, not for a while after the latest encounter, at the very least."


You hear a breathy chuckle followed by the distinct sound of somebody fiddling around with a plastic wrapper, a few seconds the woman continues, her speech slightly distorted as though she's chewing on something.


"The cash bonus is however quite welcome, maybe I can use it to get a decent supplier for once, so I don't have to make due with rat poison and chloroform on the next job come when it may - having something a little more sophisticated on hand, something like..."


You can hear the woman hum softly as she continues chewing


"Arsenic trioxide perhaps? Would have certainly helped us deal with the situation in a more expeditious manner, perhaps even limiting the casualties from three to two."


The woman finishes her sentence but doesn't continue, not for a while, all you hear is the sound of someone fiddling with a plastic wrapper again.

The sound is uneasy, anxious, you can practically imagine her fingers restlessly fiddling with the shiny piece of plastic.

Seconds stretch on, five, ten, then a long, heavy sigh erupts out of her, followed by more monologuing in a now decidedly more solemn and defeated tone, perhaps even remorseful.


"I... took a man's life today, cut his throat wide open, watched his blood gush out like a fountain as he struggled for air..."


You hear a loud gulp


"I never knew his name, hell I barely even caught a glimpse of his face in the dimly lit hallway despite the two of us being in such close proximity I could still smell the cigarettes on his breath... he might have had a family waiting for him at home, kids, wife, husband? Who knows, It doesn't matter anymore... I... I'm sorry, truly but I did what I had to, and I will again, as many times as it takes."


Her words are laced with equal parts pain and steely determination, though despite it her voice still cracks a little as she goes on.


"It was us or him, he had a gun, right there on his waist, I had to do something, he could have killed Luci if i didn't, he knew the risks when he signed on as a body guard, he made the choice, he knew, he knew he knewheknewheknewheknewhekn..."


The woman's voice becomes quieter and weaker by the second, as if she's trying to hold something back before a quiet sob seeps out of the speakers followed by a tiny

"...Fuck I ca-"


The recording cuts out.


Rec.1,5 - Family business.


...or so it would initially appear.

The reel however doesn't stop spinning, it takes you a second to realise you can still hear the person on the other side as they unsuccessfully try to stifle sobs, it would appear that something or someone merely cut them off rather abruptly. 


In the background, joining the pathetic sobbing is the sound of heavy boots hitting the hardwood floor, boots and something else. 


The sounds steadily grow louder with each passing second – as they draw closer the rhythm becomes easier to place, it’s rather unusual - a heavy, determined thud, followed shortly thereafter by a similar one though decidedly quieter, and a third sound, just as heavy as the first - that of wood hitting against wood. 


You can now hear a low, melodic humming approaching along with the thuds, the thuds that are in hindsight so obviously a percussive element to the little impromptu performance. 


 The whole thing's masterfully effortless, each note screams “blues” while the melody itself practically oozes some kind of heartfelt sentiment, something verging on nostalgia or perhaps its light melancholy, even despite the unrestrained smile that can so obviously be heard in the singer’s voice.  


The unmistakable sound of jingling keys joins the percussion, though the show is then interfered with by a high-pitched whining creek, curtesy of what must be old, neglected door-hinges crying out under years of strain and built-up rust. 


The humming stops smoothly, replaced by a low and warm masculine tone, speaking in a voice that’s surprisingly raspy given the recent performance. 


Guess what! 


Not a question but rather a statement.


This old sack of bones finds his way home yet again, Pumpk- 


The man’s jovial voice grows exponentially less so towards the end of the sentence until the sound of his voice disappears completely, the resulting near perfect silence save for the sobbing is accentuated by the sound of wood clattering against wood, the echo filling a by the sound of it rather small living space.




The voice finishes, quieter, slower, it’s no longer a statement, rather now a question - you can practically see confusion and concern spelled across the man’s face. 


The steps come once more, hurried, one heavy, the other light – they sound rushed and awkward, unsure and unstable though seemingly no slower for it. 


Within seconds the man sounds like he’s closed the gap between the front door and the recording device, though when he speaks it’s away from it, somewhere off to the side, towards the sobbing, his voice gentle as if comforting a child. 


Hey, hey now kid what’s the matter? 

The man pauses but no answer follows, not for a while so the man continues, a pitying smile hesitantly creeping into his voice. 

 “C'mon now, you know you can tell ol’Lucas here anything in the whole wide world, remember? Julia, come on look at me girl, it’s okay.


The feminine voice from before – Julia by the sound of it lets out a breathy chuckle through sobs, some shifting can be heard, fabric against skin, then Julia’s muffled voice. 


It’s nothing Pa, just... got a little sa- 




The recording cuts out (for real this time I promise) and the reels come to a smooth stop. 


The Demon Cabinet of Mr Long

Rec.2 - Big trouble in little China.


You slide yet another cassette in, carelessly leaving your prints in the thick layer of dust covering your rickety old tape recorder

This new cassette is marked


"Rec.2 - Big trouble in little China"


Prying is wrong, or so they say but... you've been slowly dying of boredom these last few months  and this just so happens to be rather intriguing, besides this was straight up handed to you - it'd be weird to not check it out at the very least if anything.

Without further hesitation you reach out for the big red "play" button and manage to force it down despite it stubbornly resisting your authority over it



The old cassette player sputters to life yet again, coughing, wheezing and choking all the while like a lifelong smoker battling an advanced stage of lung cancer - this thing's tired, exhausted, it's on its last legs, but it'll do for now.


A voice spills out of the speakers, the quality is less than stellar, no doubt hampered by your tired old tape recorder though it's still intelligible

It's the same feminine voice from before, it sounds tired again though this time it also seems to be distinctly agitated, you only catch the tail end of the latest sentence


"-atever that was, of course I ran - knowing one's own strengths is one of the bare minimum prerequisite to making it out of the..."

The voice pauses for a second, as if picking the right words, then spits them out in a tone that bares unmasked disdain


"Test vat, and I'd say I know mine pretty well considering how well I turned out..."


There's a short pause and swift, sharp exhale


"In any case it would appear that my particular skill set was less than a match for the situation on job site this time around, these peop- things, these peculiar entities running the show, pulling the strings in the back, all with their countless connections and reality bending, mind boggling capabilities were foolishly relying on a lockpick by hiring me..."


The voice of the speaker sounds mature, like that of an adult but in this particular moment they sound almost like a young child holding a petty grudge


"And believe me you love, I'll be the first one to sing the lockpick's praises, they're great-we're great, but perhaps a jimmy bar would have been a better fit for breaking down a door into a flaming building..."


Another long pause followed by a soft drawn out hum, and when it next rings out the voice sounds considerably calmer, mellow, pensive


"But then again... there I go calling them foolish without stopping to think twice when perhaps I'm the misguided one - what if... lockpicks are meant to be broken, expendable, single use, hells I've never weeped over breaking one myself..."


The voice gets lower, quieter, you can hear the distinct sound of the speaker nervously fiddling with a plastic wrapper much like they did in the last recording and seconds later their speech becomes wraped, as if they're snacking on something, perhaps a candy bar or a sandwich

"Maybe... something's telling me that I ought to become a multi tool, or I'll end up broken and discarded like no doubt countless others before me..."

Munching noises follow, then silence, you go to reach for the cassette when a quick pointed whisper startles you, forcing your hand to recoil back

"Not me, not In a million years."

The recording cuts out, leaving you to mutter unpleasentries under your breath.


Ataxia (Unfinished)
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