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Retroactive Posts: Autumn Twilight part 4

May 8, 2013

(Originally posted on October 29th, 2012)

Adrian
October 29th
10:51 P.M.

I’m pretty comfortable with the routine now, I guess. The sleep schedule is a little different, and that causes some minor inconveniences when going to say, the bank or post office, but the gig is much the same as the one I had back in the city, and being in the midnight slot I’m allowed to relax a little more. I haven’t flubbed up and swore or anything so far, but I’m pretty confident that if I did, it probably wouldn’t cost me the job.
‘Living the life’, as it were, or so it would seem; though if my time back in the city was anything to go off of, I’d do well to enjoy it while it lasts. Every pleasantry is not meant to last, that’s for sure.
Pulling into my usual parking spot, I notice that Don’s truck was nowhere to be seen. It was unlike him to miss work. Pre-winter sickness maybe?
I shrug and place the car in park, grabbing my lunch and thermos and heading inside. At the door I’m greeted by Gem.
“Adrian.” she mumbles, seemingly distant.
“Hey,” I respond, looking her over. “How’s it going?”
She doesn’t seem to acknowledge my efforts of conversation.
“Adrian!” comes a voice from over her shoulder. I look over to see Elizabeth at the front desk, standing to grab my attention and motioning me over.
“With how she’s behaving, you’d think Gem does more than tech around here. What did you put in the coffee?” I say, walking toward the desk and lifting my thermos up in front of me. “Glad I brought my own. What’s up?”
“Have you heard from Don today?” she asks.
“No, of course not. I didn’t see his truck out there; figured he was out sick.”
“He didn’t show up or call. He isn’t answering his phone.”
I wave my hand as if pushing away the issue.
“Eh, maybe he just came down with something and he’s getting some rest. I’ll drop by after my shift and check up on him if you’re worried.”
“I guess you’re right. It’s just unlike him not to at least call in..”
Elizabeth sits back in her chair.
“Don’s a weirdo alright.” I say, nodding at Elizabeth and beginning down the hall to the booth.
It was out of character of Don to duck out of work without telling anyone. From my limited knowledge of the guy he seemed colorful, but pretty serious about his job.
I shake the subject out of my head before I can manage to formulate any conspiracy theories.
When I get to the booth, the recording light is off so I head in. I’m greeted (more or less) on the other side by Heather, who was filling in. She tosses off her headset and jumps up, pushing me down into the recording chair.
“Thank God. I didn’t want to have to work two full shifts by myself to make up for two jackasses playing hookey and doing lord knows what you people do when you’re not at work.”
“Yeah I’m doing fine, too, Heather. Thanks for asking, and might I say you are glowing with a radiant beauty this evening.” I respond as crassly as possible, holding my lunch box and thermos to my chest for security.
She clicks her tongue at me in distaste and leaves the booth to enter her own on the other side of the glass.
After a moment of tossing my things over by the door and getting comfortably into “the business”, I recite my usual introductions and then disable my mic to make way for a few classic rock songs.
I wait for the Stones to finish up their number and then lean forward again, turning on the mic once again.
“Alright owls of Bluehaven; it’s that time again. I’m looking through this glass here in the recording booth at a lovely young lady, give or take a few decades, and she’s giving me a look like she’s ready to get spooked. The number’s 555-2541.”
Heather flicks the bottom of her chin at me through the glass.
“We want to hear your greatest fears. Know some local werewolves? Devil worshippers? The lines are open. Give us your worst.”
The lines light up and Heather patches one though.
“Caller, you’re on the graveyard shift with Adrian. Go ahead.”
“Hey.” comes a voice.
“Yea-ello. Go ahead caller, you’re on the air.”
“Hey this is Steve down at the lumber yard. We called in few nights back about something we saw down here durin’ our break?”
“Uh, sure. How’s Jerry doing?” I respond.
“Yeah uh, Terry’s not doin’ so good.”
“Well what do you mean, Steve.”
“Well we kept seein’ that horned man all day yesterday and even last night before our shift let off, so Terry said maybe we should grab a picture of ‘em or somethin’.”
“Seems like a valuable thing to have of a horned man, considering those are a pretty rare sight nowadays, Steve.”
“Yeah, sure thing. Well anyway, Terry and me, we sat up here at the lumberyard for a couple of hours earlier before our shift started just waitin’ to see him so we could grab a picture.” he continues.
“Sure.”
“Well we happened to see him again right off of the road there next to Kim’s dinner, and well Terry managed to grab a picture of em.”
“That’s great news, man. You should send us a copy.”
“Uh, that’s kind of the problem.. you see the horned guy he didn’t like Terry taking that picture so much.. and he came and took Terry with him.”
“He took Terry with him?” I shoot a inquisitive look at Heather, and she holds her headphones to her ears to hear.
“He came and grabbed em right up. Like he was nothin’. Like a kid picking up a plastic toy. Then he carried him off into the woods.”
“Well it seems like the kind of thing you should be telling the police, Steve.”
I kill the call, and Heather holds her hands up in surprise. She then darts out of her booth and into mine.
“What are you doing?” she belts.
I point my finger hard at the ‘on air’ light.
“Uh, well everyone keep a look out for Jerry from the lumberyard and give us a call if you see him. That number is 555-2541 and you’re listening to the graveyard shift with Adrian. We’ll be right back.”
Heather reaches past me and slams off the mic.
“What if he was telling the truth?”
“He wasn’t telling the truth, Heather. It’s Halloween.” I say, attempting to reason.
“Yeah, how do you know? What if that guy’s out there somewhere. What about the horned guy?”
“Are you being serious to me right now?”
“I’m calling the cops.” she says and I grab her wrist.
“Wait now what do you think that’s going to accomplish? Why wouldn’t they just call the cops to begin with if they were telling the truth? You’re being crazy, now just chill out. It’s just a couple of hicks playing a prank. Hell, we don’t even know that that was really the friend of that guy from the other night anyway.”
Where did Heather get all of this compassion and consideration for her fellow man from all of the sudden, by the way?
She stomps out of the room without saying another word. I let out an aggravated sigh and wait for her to take her seat once more.
“And we’re back,” I say, pulling the mic over to my face. “We’re taking calls to hear what spooks you the most. We want to know what it is that goes bump in the night in your neighborhood.”
Heather feeds through another call.
“Caller go ahead.”
“Adrian.” comes a familiar voice, causing me and Heather to look up at each other in surprise.
“Donald?”
“Adrian. There’s something out there.” says Don, sounding strangely upset.
“Don, what do you mean?”
“Something in the trees. I got away, but..” his voice trails off.
“Got away from what, Don?” I respond as I see Heather stand up from her seat.
“.. it took me by surprise. Took me up in the trees. I got away… got gashed up pretty bad.”
“Well call the police! Why did you call us?!” I ask, my heart rate rising a little.
“The cops can’t help..”
“Well, where are you? We’ll send someone to help.”
The other end is nothing but faint static.
Heather and I look at each other in disbelief. She cuts the call and mixes in a random song. I cut my mic and jump out of my chair.
Heather meets me in the hallway, clearly distraught.
“Heather, call the cops. I’m going to try his cell. We’re pretty close; one of us should go to his house an-” I’m cut short when I notice Gem, standing in the corner and looking out of the back window of the station in the same fashion as she did a few nights ago. Her skin was white and clammy and her expression was stone.
I walk over to the window and look her over.
“Are you alright, Gem?”
She continues to stand there like a statue, staring out the window. I follow her gaze but see nothing but a vacant back yard aside from a few piles of fallen leaves scattered here and there.
“Gem?” I place a hand on her shoulder to get her attention and she looks up at me slowly.
“Adrian?” comes Heather from across the room.
“Yeah?”
“There’s no answer.”
I look over to see her holding a land line and motioning me over.
I give Gem another once-over before walking over to the phone. What in the world is going on? Back-to-back seemingly prank calls, and now Gem’s standing there like a zombie looking out into the night as if it were the most mystifying thing she had ever seen. Either things around here are going mad, or Bluehaven is going out of its way to play an elaborate prank on the local radio station.
“I tried the cops and there was no answer.”
“What do you mean there was no answer?” I say, grabbing the phone and hanging it up to try for myself.
I punch in 9-1-1 and listen for six rings before hanging up and trying again.
Nothing.
I then punch in the number for the Sherriff’s Office. Eight agonizing rings with no response. I hang the phone back on the wall and stare at it. Jerry.. Steve.. Don.. and now Gem. It was surely a hoax before.. but now no answer from the cops? There’s no way they’d just.. not answer, right?
Heather looks on, waiting for a solution. I didn’t have one to give her.
“No answer?” she asks, clearly knowing already.
I shake my head.
“What do we do?”
I look over at Gem standing at the window and let out a worried sigh.
“I don’t know.”

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