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Retroactive Posts: Autumn Twilight part 2

May 8, 2013

(Originally posted on October 27th, 2012)

October 27th
10:50 P.M.

I’m pretty accustomed to the smaller feel of Bluehaven now, I think. Roads are nice and empty compared to the bustle of the city, and the people come off as friendly enough. The drive to work is far more pleasant, especially at this time of the year. I wake up late enough to see sunset, and go to sleep shortly after sunrise, so it’s really the best a simple-minded guy could ask for.
The city had trees here and there, but there’s nothing quite like the multicolored splendor of the countryside in autumn. The chill of winter is right around the corner, but who’s to say you can’t enjoy something while it lasts.
Bluehaven. The perfect spot to forget the weights of the past. They should put that on their “you’re now entering..” sign.
As I pull into the parking lot, I catch the beginning of Donald’s wrap-up act.
“Time has flown this evening here on Bluehaven’s blues, but don’t fret, my friends, I’ll be right back in here tomorrow night to soothe your worries and cure your doubts with more smooth-listening gems from the past. Thank you all for listening, but I’m out of here. Let’s take this show on the road with a litt-”
I cut off my engine and take my thermos and lunch bag with me, locking up my vehicle and entering the station.
On my way through the lobby, I nod in greetings to Elizabeth at the front desk and make my way past the rest rooms to the recording booths. I spot “Gem” out of the corner of my eye, who was peering out of the station window into the backyard with a puzzled look on her face.
I check to make sure the recording light wasn’t on before entering the booth to dismiss Donald from his shift.
“How’s it going, Don.”
“Hey Adrian” Donald says in a gruff tone.
“Never gets old.”
I pat Donald on the shoulder and he stands, removing his headphones.
“Well she’s all warmed up for you tonight.”
“The chair, or Heather?” I respond in a playful tone, and the two of us look through the soundproof glass at Heather on the other side. After a few moments, she senses us looking in her direction and throws up a middle finger.
“A little bit of both, it would seem.” says Don, reaching for his jacket at the coat rack by the door.
“Take it easy, Don.” I chuckle and shake my head, removing my own jacket and hanging it on the back of the chair before waving him goodbye. He closes the door behind him.
I sit, placing the headphones on my head and adjusting the microphone in front of me from what Don calls “the groove” position to “the business” position.
The last few minutes of Don’s parting song plays out, and Heather pumps in my recorded transition package. I never cared much for the blues. It just isn’t my thing. I was always more of a punk rock fan, which people always seem to be taken aback by when I tell them. They say it’s out of character. Maybe it is.
I look up to see Heather give me a count down on her fingers to lead me in, and at one I turn the microphone on. The stark red glow of the recording monitor comes to life, and I begin my shtick.
“Hey you guys, it’s late here in Bluehaven and that can only mean one thing; I’m talking about the graveyard shift with yours truly, your own personal shock-jock, Adrian. Horror-hound month is reaching its peak, and we have a very special treat lined up for you guys and gals later on.”
I smirk as I notice Heather pretending to choke herself in disgust through the window.
“Popular thriller author Ian Drake will be here talking with us about his new book, The Rest of Night, and he has agreed to take a few calls from those of you out there curious about the art of creating horror. You won’t want to miss it, so stick around.”
Heather gives an exaggerated point to her watch-arm and I nod.
“But to start the night off, here’s a little Bruce Springsteen to keep you company, and when we get back we’re going to open some phone lines; we want to hear what makes your hair stand on end. Take us away, Bruce!” I say, shutting off my mic as Heather fades in the music.
She holds up five fingers, signifying how much time there was until we were live again.
Feeling the slight burden of my bladder, I remove my headphones and head toward the restroom.
On my way back to the booth, I once again spot Gem, who was still standing in the same spot, peering out into the dark. I check the clock before heading over to see what was up.
“Gem, you’ve been standing there since I got in. What are you looking at?” I ask.
“There’s someone out there.” she responds, lifting her hand to point out of the window.
I lower my head to look outside.
“He’s been standing there in that same spot since my shift started at seven.” she adds.
There was indeed someone out there, standing off in the distance with their head hung down and their arms limp at their sides.
“I thought maybe it was just a prank dummy set up by some teens, but there’s no way; that’s a man out there.”
“Eh, he’s not hurting anybody by just standing there.” I say reassuringly, quite puzzled myself.
“I guess…” she says, unsatisfied.
I look at the clock.
“I need to get back to it. If you’re worried, just call the cops.” I say, patting Gem on the shoulder before returning to my post.
I make it back in time to hear an irritating advertisement for a local brewery and seat myself comfortably before Heather puts me on.
“Alright, you guys. Let’s hear it. The phone lines are open. 555-2541 is the number. We want to hear what makes you jump; what makes you afraid to walk to your car in the dark; what’s lurking outside of your window while you’re asleep.”
The phone lines light up. Heather feeds one though.
“Caller, you’re on the air.”
“Is this the radio show?” says a man’s voice.
“Yep this is the graveyard shift, you’re speaking to Adrian. What’ve you got?”
“Lemurs.” says the man in a panicked tone.
“Lemurs?” I respond, holding my hands out helplessly and looking at Heather with a disbelieving face.
She shrugs.
“Those black eyes and bushy tails. They scare the bajesus out of me.” the man continues.
“That isn’t exactly what we had in mind, here um..?”
“Tacklebarry. John Tacklebarry.”
“Well.. Mister Tacklebar-”
“John.” says the man, cutting me off.
“Well, John. You realize lemurs aren’t native to North America, right?”
“Yeah, well. How do you know? They’re just elusive, that’s all. Waiting for the right moment to strike.”
I cut the call short, killing it myself via my switchboard.
“Well we’ll keep a look out and inform you if anyone hears of any rampant lemur attacks, John. Next caller.”
The line is just fuzz.
“Caller, you’re on the air with the graveyard shift. This is Adrian.”
Another moment of nothing, and then another man’s voice.
“Bluehaven will run red with the blood of the innocent.” he says in a confident tone.
Heather circles her ear with her finger in a “loco” fashion and kills the call.
“That’s all very interesting. Next caller. Caller, go ahead.” I say, shaking my head.
“Yeah this is Terry down at the lumberyard.”
“Hey Jerry, go ahead. What’s going bump in the night in your neighborhood?”
“Terry..” says the man, correcting me, “Yeah me and Steve, uh, that’s my friend Steve down here at the lumberyard; me and Steve were sittin’ down here just having a smoke break and I swear to you we just saw a horned guy jump no less than twenty feet, right up into the treetops there across the river there.”
“A horned guy?” I inquire.
“Yeah he was a pretty stout guy, dressed in a dark coat. Steve spotted him over in the tree line and when the two of us gave him a good look he just hopped right up into the trees. I swear it.” continues the man.
“Did you two happen to be drinking during this smoke break there, Terry?”
“Well, I mean.. you know.”
I kill the call.
“Figured as much. Well, we’ll all keep an eye out for the horned man, Terry. Tell Steve not to worry.”
Heather and I compete in a short, disdained head-shaking contest. It was going to be a long, but entertaining night.

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