10.7 – Feral Dogs

Let’s have a look at the community calendar.

This Sunday afternoon, the Night Vale Fire Department will be holding its bi-weekly Fireperson Appreciation Parade. All of the town’s firefighters will be riding through main street on their bright red engines, which will be turned into floats depicting some of the greatest fires in Night Vale’s history. One of my personal favorites is the 1983 earthquake dust fire, when tremor-initiated fires became so intense that the airborne sand burst into deadly flames. Nearly the entire city population was lost, and the FDNV does a fantastic job capturing the drama with streamers and papier-mâché.

The Fire Department would like to remind Night Vale citizens that the parade is free, and to check your coffee makers and gas stoves before you leave home, because they will not fight any fires while the parade is happening.

On Monday, the staff of Dark Owl Records will be wearing sweater vests.

Tuesday night is the Boy Scouts’ Court of Honor. The BSA will name its first-ever Blood Pact Scouts, the rank just above Eagle Scout. So far, no scout has attained the coveted position of Eternal Scout, but we have heard that two local boys, Franklin Wilson and Barton Donovan, have earned the Invisibility Badge, which is a prerequisite for the rank. Well done, Frank and Barty!

Wednesday afternoon is the city-wide Fitness Fair at the rec center. Last year’s event was canceled, as it was held on the same day and time as the Fried Chicken & Cigarette Fair. This year’s event, however, promises to be a huge success, as they have secured a large corporate sponsorship from the Intelligence Group International, who will provide free prostate screenings, mammograms, and surgically embedded government monitoring devices.

Thursday morning, the National Weather Service and National Security Agency have scheduled a giant sandstorm.

Friday is an oasis. Only a metaphor for something unattainable. A haunting dream of meaning for our lives, but don’t look. Turn your head. Your life is here. Stay here. You are alone. You are so peacefully alone. That’s it. Yes. Good.

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12.3 – The Candidate

Breaking news; we’ve received confirmation from the Sheriff’s Secret Police that Hiram McDaniels was finally apprehended.

McDaniels has been on the lam since August. He was wanted on several counts of insurance fraud, falsifying identification papers, evading arrest, and assaulting a police vehicle with fire. McDaniels was spotted near his Earl Road apartment early Saturday morning by several alert neighbors. The neighbors said they were able to identify McDaniels because he matched police sketches of an eighteen-foot-tall five-headed dragon that had been posted across Night Vale. Fingerprints later confirmed that McDaniels was definitely a dragon.

Secret Police are still unsure of McDaniels’ motives for returning home, and, well, listeners, our station intern Stacy just handed me a photo of Hiram McDaniels. He’s a very dynamic looking dragon. The raw power. The intensity in those five faces, those many sets of blue and red and black and green and yellow eyes. I can certainly see how he charmed his way out of an arrest. He must never get tickets. What a guy.

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.

14.10 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

This just in: the Sheriff’s Secret Police has just issued an important request related to our earlier story. They ask that all Night Vale citizens be on the lookout for a man in a tan jacket, carrying a deerskin suitcase. He is about five or six foot something, probably with hair, and normal human features.

He was last seen early this morning on the unlit, gravel-paved stretch of Oak Trail, near Larry Leroy’s house, out on the edge of town. The Man in the Tan Jacket was reportedly seen in the moonless black, standing next to a refrigerator engulfed in flames. He was smoking a cigarette. Witnesses claimed he stared at them as they slowly drove by on the darkened country road, but despite the prolonged eye contact, the witnesses still could not describe his face to police.

Two days prior, the Man in the Tan Jacket was seen standing in a park. No one can remember which park, but they were fairly certain it was a park. Or, maybe, it was in the Old Navy outlet store or near the invisible clock tower, it wasn’t quite clear. Either way, the man was definitely standing with his deerskin suitcase, and staring up at the sun for hours. He followed the bizarre glowing orb, which is somehow the source of all light and life, and– “OH GOD, the sun, are you kidding us with this thing? We don’t even have time for that mystery!” the Secret Police then interjected. Secret Police officials added that if you see a man in a tan jacket carrying a deerskin suitcase, write down what you see immediately.

The City Council has temporarily lifted their ban on pens and pencils, so that citizens can help law enforcement on this matter. Once you write down your encounter, call 911 immediately, or simply say, “Hey, police!” out loud. We’re all being monitored almost 24/7, so they’ll probably hear you just fine.