19A.4 – The Sandstorm

And now, traffic. Highway officials are warning all Night Vale residents to stay off the roads. The sandstorm is making travel nearly impossible. We are told that several cars have stalled near the southbound offramp at Exit 6 on Route 800. Traffic officers reported that each car screeched to a halt, and through the rushing sands, they could see dozens of drivers and passengers running into the road, pairing off, and then fighting. They noted that each fighting pair seemed to be of the same build, gender, age, and were wearing the exact same thing.

Also, unrelated to the sandstorm, all stop signs and traffic lights have been taken down for their bi-monthly polishing. They’ll be back from the cleaners on Tuesday, officials said.

19A.5 – The Sandstorm

Listeners, thank you for your calls and emails. We’re getting word that the sandstorm has already begun to hit. Larry Leroy, out on the edge of town, called moments ago to say that the sand was thick and really flying fast, but that when it touched his skin, he could hardly feel it. He could hardly feel a thing, that the past was a fiction, and that consequences were a choice. He saw colors and shapes instead of familiar things like stoves and ponies. He shouted a bright confirmation of life up toward the sand-covered sun before gasping and screaming, ‘No. Not you. Not you!’ and then hanging up the phone.

Well, thank you, Larry, for that informative report. We’ll certainly keep that in mind.

Old Woman Josie has not called, but intern Dana said that Old Woman Josie updated her Facebook page with an Instagram of some runestones. Dana has been furiously translating these symbols, and her best guess is that they say ‘They come in twos. You come in twos. You and you. Kill your double.’

There’s also a link to this amazing cat that keeps jumping in and out of boxes and oh my god, that is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Dana, you have got to post that on my wall. Oh my god, he loves those boxes so much!

19A.7 – The Sandstorm

This just in, Night Vale: Mayor Pamela Winchell has declared a state of emergency. She has asked that if you are still outside, you return home immediately. A second announcement, shortly after, says that she was lying and that you shouldn’t listen to her. She’s not the real mayor. I am. A third announcement followed, requesting that you give me the microphone and get away from the podium. This is my press conference, you replicant clown! The press conference then erupted into shouts of ‘Phony!’ and ‘Imposter!’ as the press corps suddenly doubled and began fighting itself.

Night Vale, do be careful. I fear the sandstorm to be quite a terrible event. Please, stay safe inside, and should you see yourself, I cannot condone murdering yourself. I just don’t believe violence is ever the answer. It is a question. The real answer is far more terrifying. So, make peace with your double, Night Vale. Do not be tempted to draw swords or guns. We can get along.

Oh, dear. What… what was that noise? Dana? Is everything okay in there, Dana? Who are you fighting? Dana, put down that letter opener! Dana, put away the… I’m coming in there. Um, let’s go to a word from our sponsor.

19A.9 – The Sandstorm

Listeners, I have some bad news and some, uh, good news. Dana is dead! But the other Dana is alive, and I don’t know which is the original and which is the double. Right now, one of the Danas is standing above her own corpse, panting. I cannot tell if she is grinning or grimacing. When I went in, she had clutched in one hand a broken stapler, and in the other, a printout of this email from… oh, God. This is the bad news I was talking about. An email from Steve Carlsberg. I don’t even want to read an email from that jerk, but if printing it out was one of the Dana’s final actions, I must honor her efforts.

Steve… ugh. Steve writes: ‘The sandstorm is clearly a coverup. I believe this was a government-created project. Our government has long been participating in cloud-seeding experiments, and trying to suppress the people with pharmaceuticals. I believe that this government will stop at nothing in order to…’

Now you listen here, Steve Carlsberg. You’re not saying anything new, Steve. Of course the sandstorm was created by the government. The City Council announced that this morning. The government makes no secret that they can control the weather, and earthquakes, and monitor thoughts and activities. That’s the stuff a big government is supposed to do! Obviously, you have never read the Constitution.

Okay, sure, government can be very inefficient, and sometimes bloated and corrupt, but the answer is not to complain about everything that they do. Without government, we would never have schools or roads or municipal utilities or helpful pandemics or black vans that roam our neighborhoods at night keeping us safe. So please, Steve Carlsberg, I’ve had enough of your government-bashing.

And with that, dear listeners, let’s go to the – oh my. Look at that. Listeners, there is a black, almost indigo, vortex that has formed along my studio wall. Listeners, words fail me. It is so beautiful. I can’t leave you, as our show is not yet over, but there must be something beyond this something, Night Vale. I must see what it is. I must go. I will try not to be long, listeners. I will try not to be long…

19A.10 – The Sandstorm

[A different, cheerful male voice speaks.]

Hello? Hello, Desert Bluffs? What is this studio? Hey there, Desert Bluffs. I don’t know if you can hear me. Kevin here. I don’t know where I am. It’s a radio studio, but the walls are darker. The equipment looks much older. Certainly much drier than it should be. The microphone was made… when? Have I gone back in time? Vanessa! Are you in the booth?

Listeners, if you can hear me, I am in a strange place. I do not know if I am in Desert Bluffs, or if anyone can hear me. The sandstorm rages outside. The vortex is still there, but it’s black, almost a deep blue. There’s a low hum. I do not know if this is the portal, or the storm, or my own body. There is a photo here on the desk. It is a man. He is wearing a tie. He is not tall or short, not thin or fat. He has eyes like mine and a nose like mine, and hair like mine, but I do not think he is me. Maybe it is the smile. Is that a smile? I can’t say. I do hope he is safe, whoever, wherever he is. I hope I am safe, wherever, whoever I am.

It is night. I think it is night. It is night. You may not know me, nor I you, but we have this mic, and this voice, and your warm ears blossoming open to hear comforting secrets in the vibrations of a voice that pulse so deep into your body, your heart relaxes for a time. And we have this, sitting right here on this odd and bloodless desk. So now, dear listeners, whoever you are, I give you… the weather.

[“Eliezer’s Waltz” by Larry Cardozo & Ron Fink, performed by Disparition.]

19A.11 – The Sandstorm

[Cecil’s voice returns.]

Hello? Night Vale? I told you I would be back. It took longer than I thought, but I have returned from whatever horrible place I have gone. Along the way, in the vortex, I saw a grotesque man. A foul devil of a man! And he attacked me! I tried to choke him to death, but I remembered. I remembered what I told you, and I let him live. I let that woeful beast live. I am sure he is not without his wounds and bruises, and I pity that he must return to that awful, awful place from whence he came and to where I most unfortunately visited.

But somehow, I am happy that he is alive. That I am alive. That you are alive. That we are alive. Outside, the winds are subsiding, the sun sweeping away our pains. I am sure there is blood staining the streets, the graffiti of our sins, the writings of an immoral but necessary battle, I presume. The bodies of some replaced by others who were – we were – all the same to begin with. And we are healing. Those of us, whoever we are, who survived. Those others of us, whoever we are, who conquered.

Whoever you are now, you are home. We are home, Night Vale. You and I are together again. My mouth, your ears: we have each other. And for now, and always, good night, Night Vale. Good night.