1.19 – Pilot

Carlos, perfect and beautiful, came into our studios during the break earlier, but declined to stay for an interview.

He had some sort of blinking box in his hand covered with wires and tubes. Said he was testing the place for materials. I don’t know what materials he meant, but that box sure whistled and beeped a lot. When he put it close to the microphone, it sounded like, well, like a bunch of baby birds had just woken up… really went crazy.

Carlos looked nervous. I’ve never seen that kind of look on someone with that strong of a jaw.

He left in a hurry. Told us to evacuate the building. But then, who would be here to talk sweetly to all of you out there?

Settling in to be another clear night and pretty evening here in Night Vale. I hope all of you out there have someone to sleep through it with, or at least, good memories of when you did.

Good night, listeners, good night.

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2.14 – Glow Cloud

Dear listeners, here is a list of things.

  • emotions you don’t understand upon viewing a sunset
  • lost pets found
  • lost pets unfound
  • a secret lost pet city on the moon
  • trees that see
  • restaurants that hear
  • a void that thinks
  • a face half-seen just before falling asleep
  • trembling hands reaching for desperately needed items
  • sandwiches
  • silence when there should be noise
  • noise when there should be silence
  • nothing when you want something
  • something, when you thought there was nothing
  • clear plastic binder sheets
  • scented dryer sheets
  • rain coming down in sheets
  • night
  • rest
  • sleep
  • end

Good night, listeners. Good night.

5.14 – The Shape In Grove Park

Hello, listeners. In breaking news: the sky. The earth. Life. Existence as an unchanging plane with horizons of birth and death in the faint distance. We have nothing to speak about. There never was. Words are an unnecessary trouble. Expression is time, wasting away. Any communication is just a yelp in the darkness. Ladies, gentlemen, listeners, you… I am speaking now, but I am saying nothing. I am just making noises and as it happens, they are organized in words, and you should not draw meaning from this.

The service for Leland will be lovely. We will throw flowers and weep. He will be buried in the break room, as is the custom. His family will come and moon about the coffee as though we have answers. We do not have answers. I am not certain that we even have questions. I have chosen to not be certain of anything at all.

This is Cecil, generally, speaking to you, metaphorically, for Night Vale Community Radio. And I would like to say, in the most nebulous terms possible, and with no real world implications or insinuations of objective meaning… good night, listeners. Good night.

6.13 – The Drawbridge

Apparently, the Sheriff’s Secret Police agree with me about old Steve Carlsberg, dear listeners. We just received a report from a reliable witness that two days ago, Steve was whisked into the back of a windowless van, only to reappear earlier this morning wearing thick head bandages, and eating styrofoam shaped like an ice cream cone.

I want to take this moment to thank all of you out there for all of the generous donations you may or may not be aware that you just made. During this show, we have raised just a hair over $45,000, which includes a $45,000 donation from a certain anonymous world leader. I can’t tell you who. Let’s just say: muchos gracias, El Presidente! Mano dura, cabeza, y corazón. [This was a campaign slogan used by Otto Pérez Molina, President of Guatemala; it means “Firm hand, head and heart.”]

Thank you again for your involuntary support of community radio. We couldn’t do it without the support of listeners like you, in conjunction with unethical contributions from nefarious organizations. And with that, I leave you alone with your thoughts, folks. Stay tuned next for Zydeco Note By Note, a special two-hour verbal description of what zydeco music sounds like. Buenos noches, Night Vale. Good night.

8.12 – The Lights In Radon Canyon

Teddy Williams, over at the Desert Flower Bowling Alley & Arcade Fun Complex, has an update on the doorway into that vast underground city he found in the pin retrieval area of lane five. He says that every window of the city is now glowing both day and night, and he heard the shouts and footsteps of what sounded like an army marching upwards toward the world above. He also said that given that nothing really matters now, bowling is half off and each game comes with a free basket of wings.

Mm, nothing like those Desert Flower wings.

Let me leave you with this, dear listeners. We lead frantic lives, filled with needs and responsibilities, but completely devoid of any actual purpose. I say, let’s try to enjoy the simple things. Life should be like a basket of chicken wings: salty, full of fat and vinegar, and surrounded by celery you’ll never actually eat, even when you’re greedily sopping up the last viscous streaks of buffalo sauce from the wax paper with your spit-stained index finger. Yes… that is as life should be, Night Vale.

Stay tuned for a special live broadcast of the Night Vale Symphony Orchestra performing Eugene O’Neill’s classic play The Iceman Cometh. It is a good night, listeners. Good night.

9.12 – “PYRAMID”

Well, listeners, it seems the pyramid has disappeared as mysteriously and suddenly as it arrived. Too late, I’m afraid, for the Flaky-Os board of directors, who have all been taken to the abandoned mine shaft outside of town for processing by the City Council.

The Sheriff’s Secret Police are declaring victory in their stand-off against the pyramid because they say it’s about time they won something.

Meanwhile, the pyramid has left behind a much tinier pyramid. A mere souvenir of its looming, inscrutable mass. This tiny pyramid is broadcasting one final message, a farewell from the geometric shape that stole our hearts. So, let us wrap up our show today with its words.

Somewhere there is a map, and on that map is Earth, and attached to Earth is an arrow that says your name and lists your lifespan. Some of you die standing. Others sitting. Many of you die in cars. I can never die. It is difficult for me to understand the concept that I am attempting to convey. I cannot show you this vision, but you may imagine it. Step forward and tell someone of it, please.

You heard it here, folks. Tell people. Tell people about Flaky-Os’ new line of cereals for nighttime only. Do it in memory of its board of directors.

Stay tuned now for an hour of dead air, with the occasional hiss and crackle. Speaking of the nighttime, I truly hope you have a good one, Night Vale. Good night.

10.12 – Feral Dogs

Ladies and gentlemen, good news. Mayor Pamela Winchell called a press conference moments ago, declaring an end to our dog pack terror. The mayor announced that the dogs were not actually dogs. Just some plastic bags caught in the breeze that people mistook for wild dogs.

“There are no wild dogs in Night Vale,” she said, “and if there were, they’d be sweet little dogs with big, meaningless eyes and tongues like flypaper.” The plastic bags, meanwhile, have been safely returned to the dog park from whence they came, and which is to remain unknowable and unremembered.

Journalists asked about the injuries and aftermath of this morning’s dog-pack-related crimes and injuries. The mayor responded with a hollow stare. She promptly shook the podium off its base and whispered through gritted teeth, “Plastic bags. Plastic. Bags.” The Sheriff’s Secret Police then ethically kettled the pool of reporters, gently coercing them with pepper spray. Most were taken away peacefully in handcuffs and black hoods.

Thank goodness it was all a misunderstanding. Dear listeners, I don’t want to say I told you so… but wasn’t I right when I said we were a determined, resilient little town? In the face of wild beasts, we did not crumble. We did not back down. We stood eye to eye with violence and it blinked first.

Stand proud, Night Vale! Be afraid on the inside, of course. You are, after all, your own downfall. But stand proud against those predators that would harm your family.

And that is our show. Thank you for listening, listeners. Stay tuned next for the popular advice program “Dr. Brandon.” This week, Dr. Brandon offers a step-by-step on how to remove your own appendix without surgery.

The sky tonight is a soft, quivering green. The wind is calm, but prepared. Get your sleep, Night Vale, and don’t forget to dream. Good night.

11.15 – Wheat & Wheat By-Products

And finally, some good news! All wheat and wheat by-products have mysteriously vanished from Night Vale, and the City Council promises that they will be gone forever.

This scourge, this siege upon us, this salvo of food-based warfare is finally over.

Never more will we be threatened in our homes by this enemy, or its by-products.

We also will never eat bread again, and that’s a pretty big bummer.

But this is the balance that must be made between what we desire and what we fear. Between pain and pleasure. Between wheat, dear listeners, and its by-products.

Many of you are huddled now and forever in the quarantine behind the playground in Mission Grove Park. For this community-minded sacrifice, we thank you.

I know you were forced there by martial law, but still, you should be commended for your brave actions.

Terminal quarantine might seem scary now, but I understand they have a well-stocked supply of canned lentils and the Silver Screen edition of Trivial Pursuit.

And of course, you have the radio. I hope you will let my dulcet voice and our humble community station into your ears and hearts until your final wheat-loving breath.

Dear listeners, stay tuned next for a live broadcast of a man locked in a recording booth silently staring at the microphone with intense suspicion.

And as always, since always, and for always, good night, Night Vale, good night.

12.12 – The Candidate

Ah, but that is later. Now, it is dark. It is quiet. Just you and me, dear listener. Just my voice, traveling from this microphone, traveling silent and immediate across sleepy homes and lost souls to your ears.

You curl under a blanket, protecting your body from the world, excepting a few clever spiders, and you are listening, hearing me. Sleep heavily and know that I am here with you now. The past is gone, and cannot harm you anymore. And while the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first, and settles in as the gentle present. This now, this us, we can cope with that. We can do this together, you and I, drowsily, but comfortably. Stay tuned now for our two-hour special, Car Alarms And Their Variations, brought to you commercial-free by Canada Dry.

Good night, Night Vale. Good night.

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.