1.13 – Pilot

Carlos and his scientists at the monitoring station near Route 800 say their seismic monitors have been indicating wild seismic shifts. Meaning to say that the ground should be going up and down all over the place. I don’t know about you folks, but the ground has been as still as the crust of a tiny globe rocket through an endless void could be.

Carlos says that they’ve double-checked the monitors and they are in perfect working order. To put it plainly, there appears to be catastrophic earthquakes happening right here in Night Vale that absolutely no one can feel.

Well, submit an insurance claim, anyway… see what you can get, right?

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11.11 – Wheat & Wheat By-Products

City comptroller Waynetta Barnett received a one point five billion dollar check from the federal government this week.

The check was to support rebuilding efforts from this past week’s massive earthquake, reaching nine point seven on the Richter scale, the epicenter of which was directly below Night Vale. Of course, we experienced absolutely no damage to the town, and nobody reported feeling any effects at all from this enormous seismological event.

Comptroller Barnett says that she suspects that FEMA just saw the meter reading, declared this a disaster area, and sent a check. She doesn’t think they have any interest in visiting Night Vale, so we can probably just spend the money however we want.

Barnett added that those new Mini Cooper sedans are really cute, and wanted us all to look at their website.

11.12 – Wheat & Wheat By-Products

We asked Carlos about our inability to experience tectonic shifts. Carlos, lovely Carlos, had previously recorded other massive tremor activity underneath our city.

His response was a few seconds of stammering, followed by a sigh and slow headshake. His eyes were distant, distracted, yet beautiful.

I asked him where he got his shirt. It fit him so well.

He said he would look at his notes and computer models and see if he could figure out what was going on.

I don’t know if he listens to me, sometimes.

13.8 – A Story About You

The crate is in your kitchen where you left it, and you get down on your knees to embrace it more fully. It has grown warmer, even hot. It still is not ticking. It had taken you no time to get back home. Now that you think about it, were there any other cars on the road? Where did all the cars go? The man with the semaphore flags explaining the speed limit – he wasn’t there either. Your heart pounds.

Without allowing another stray thought to wander through your mind and delay you, you grab the crate and throw it in your trunk. You turn the ignition, and your car radio comes alive with a pop, just as the announcer says that your car radio comes alive with a pop.

Where to now? You don’t know, but you go there anyway. A pair of headlights, a pair of eyes, and two shaky hands, speeding through the silent town. Behind you, you see helicopter searchlights sweeping down onto your trailer. There are sirens. A purplish cloud hangs over the town, glittering occasionally as it rotates. The whole works.

You drive past the Moonlite All-Nite, still aglow and full of people eating what sounds good only late at night, and Teddy Williams’ Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, which has taken to not only locking but barricading its doors at closing time. You pass by City Hall, which, as always, is completely shrouded after dark in black velvet.

Moving farther out, following the pull of the distant, uncertain moon, you pass by the car lot, where the salesmen have been put away for the night, and Old Woman Josie’s house, where the only sign that the unassuming little home could be a place of residence for angels is the bright halo of heavenly light surrounding it, and the sign out front that says “Angels’ Residence”. And the town is behind you, and you are out in the scrub lands, and the sand wastes. By the road you see a man, holding a cactus in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. He shakes both at you as you pass, and howls.

13.9 – A Story About You

And then, you are alone. Just you, and the desert. You stop the car and get out. Pebbles crunch in the sand in response to your movement. The radio murmurs behind the closed doors of your car. The headlights illuminate only a few stray plants, and the wide dumb eyes of some nocturnal animal. Looking back, you see the bulge of light that is your Night Vale. The purple cloud, now floating over the heart of the city, reaches its tendrils in and out of buildings. You hear screams, and gunfire.

You open the trunk and lay one hand on the crate. It pulses with some kind of life. Still no ticking though. You look back. Several buildings are on fire. Crowds of people are floating in the air, held aloft by beams of light, and struggling feebly against power they cannot begin to understand. The ground shifts, like it was startled.

It’s so quiet, when it finally comes. You see the black car long before it arrives. it comes to a halt nearby and two men step out. You don’t run. Neither do they.

“How did you find me?” you ask.

“Everything you do is being broadcast on the radio for some reason. That made it pretty easy,” says one of the men, the one who isn’t tall.

“Yeah,” you say. “I see that now.”

“You have the item?” the man who is not tall asks.

You say nothing.

The man who is not tall signals the man who is not short, and he walks past you, looks into your trunk, and nods.

“Even easier,” says the man who is not tall.

There is an unexpected click. One of the rear doors of the black car has opened, and your fiancée has stepped out. Her eyes are wet, like it was the night you left. She does not appear to have aged, but then, you can’t actually remember how long it has been. Could it have been last week? Or was it ten years ago?

“Why?” she says. “Why? Why?”

You don’t know what to say.

The man who is not short steps up to you, puts a knife against your throat. Nobody says anything. Your fiancée shakes her head. Her eyes are empty, broken, gushing. The radio is saying all of this as it happens. You hear it dimly through the car door. You can’t stop smiling.

All at once, the consequences. All at once you are no longer free. It’s all coming back around, all at once. Life, bleary, washed-out, snaps back into focus. The red light on the tower still blinks in the distance and every message in this world has a meaning. It all makes sense and you are finally being punished. You can’t think of a time you have ever been happier.

Your fiancée abruptly gets back into the car. Neither of the men seem to notice her. One opens the crate with a couple of quick taps, and pulls out of it an intricate miniature house. The hours that must have been spent building it! Every detail is accounted for! Inside the house, you think you see for a moment lights and movement.

“Undamaged,” says the man who is not tall.

You beam at him. The knife presses harder against your throat, but it does not hurt. Your eyes wander up and you see above you the dark planet of awesome size perched in its sunless void, an invisible titan, all thick black forests and jagged mountains and deep, turbulent oceans. A monster. Spinning. Soundless. Forgotten.

It’s so close now. You see it just above you. Maybe even if you tried very hard, you could touch it. You reach up…

This has been your story. The radio moves onto other things: news, traffic, political opinions, and corrections to political opinions. But there was time, one day, one single day, in which it was only one story, a story about you. And you were pleased, because you always wanted to hear about yourself on the radio.

Good night, Night Vale. Good night.