I found something I shouldn’t have, or maybe I should, I don’t know. I was helping my parents move out of their old house and into mine. Their house was about ten miles from the nearest town and even farther from a hospital. This scared me ever since the doctors diagnosed my mother with early Alzheimer’s. I decided it was time they moved in with me. I was packing everything into boxes in the basement when I stumbled across my father’s old C.B. radio. He loved that thing and as a kid, I enjoyed turning the dial trying to find any voice in a sea of static. I twisted the dial for nostalgia’s sake and tried to find any semblance of a station. I was speechless when I heard a voice ring out through the speakers. As I listened, I realized this wasn’t some ordinary station, this was a radio station playing from a town that didn’t exist, that couldn’t exist. I decided to write down everything they said, and hopefully, someone will know what to do with this, because right now I’m out of ideas.
* * * * * *
Automated voice: Aired Approx. 1 year, 4 months, 13 days since the town’s disappearance.
Julian: Hello! I’m your host Julian and welcome back to another night of “Tales from Port-land”! Grab your coffee, get cozy, relax, and enjoy another week’s roundup of news. But before we get into this week’s news I would like to take some time to introduce our newest member to Port-land’s News team, Collin Corset! Would you care to introduce yourself, Collin?
Collin: Thanks for having me Julian, but I would rather talk about why I’m here today.
Julian: Go right ahead!
Collin: Well, last week my significant other, Oliver Mentiaz went missing. He’s about 5’9, 200 pounds, brown eyes, curly hair, and was last seen wearing a yellow hoodie.
Julian: Last week you say? have you tried contacting the police?
Collin: Obviously, but they’ve been pretty incompetent.
Julian: Well, I don’t think we should slander our hard-working police force.
Collin: I’m not slandering anyone, I’m telling the truth. I called them last week but I could never get anyone on the line, it would go straight to voicemail. What kind of emergency hotline has a voicemail?
Julian: Well, this past year has been very hard for Port-lands local police. They were most likely all deployed at that time. Did you try calling them back?
Collin: Yes, every hour for five days until finally, the sheriff showed up unannounced at my door.
Julian: Oh, yes, Sheriff Peterson, our town’s symbol of pea-
Collin: He was drunk. Banging on my door, demanding that open up.
Julian: Well, then.
Collin: So I opened the door, welcomed him into my home, he stumbled around mumbling something about a group of vultures abducting peoples pets. He then opened my pantry and took my last can of peaches. He asked me for a can opener but before I could even process what had happened, he shoots the can!
Julian: The can of peaches?
Collin: Yes the can of peaches!
Julian: What happened next?
Collin: He just stood there, staring at me, eating my peaches.
Julian: That doesn’t sound like sheriff Peterson at all.
Collin: So there I was, standing in the corner of my kitchen, scared shitless, a bullet hole in my table, and a drunk armed lunatic with a badge eating my peaches! And this is the best part, the only reason he came over was to deliver me a ticket for, and I quote, “the continuous harassment of the police and for the obstruction of justice”.
Julian: Well, then.
Collin: So he handed me this ticket and the price of this thing was way out of my range.
Julian: Can you give us a price?
Collin: Let’s just say it costs more than my house.
Julian: Ouch, what happened next?
Collin: I was just standing there, in shock over what had just happened. I felt like I was trapped in some bizarre world. Like I was on some terrible prank show when I just snapped. I grabbed him by his shirt collar and then I.. I-
Julian: It’s okay, Collin, you can take your time.
Collin: -I-I just started to cry. All these horrible emotions I had bottled up from losing Oliver, from dealing with this incompetent joke of a police force, this drunken ogre, and a ticket I received Just for trying to get help for my missing boyfriend. It all just came rushing out. I just couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. I couldn’t stop the tears. They just kept spilling out of me and streaming down my face. I’ve never felt tears that stung as much as these.
Julian: Oh, Collin, I’m so sorry.
Collin: He eventually peeled my grip off of his shirt and straightened his collar. That’s when I looked at his face, It was so… so empty. It looked like he was channeling everything in his body to not break down.
Julian: Like I said it’s been a hard time for all of us this past year.
Collin: He informed me that his team knows about Oliver and that they are currently on the lookout for him.
Julian: That’s fantastic news!
Collin: I asked him if he was okay, but he never responded, Instead he just stared down at that damn can of peaches. Eventually, he spoke, apologizing for the ticket, but informing me that he couldn’t take it back as he wasn’t the one who issued it.
Julian: Who issued the ticket?
Collin: I don’t know, he wouldn’t say. He did, however, allow me to get a job working for the government until I pay off the fine.
Julian: At least that beats serving a prison sentence!
Collin: He informed me that one reason he’s doing this is because the prison is overpopulated.
Collin: I was horrified at the thought of getting an actual job. I haven’t left my house since I met Oliver, which was about a month before the town’s disappearance.
Julian: You’re telling me you haven’t left your house in over a whole year?
Collin: Yeah, so I told him because of that I didn’t know what government jobs we have available or even what had happened to our town since our disappearance.
Julian: Oh, I see where this is going!
Collin: Yeah, he decided that the best government job for me would be to work at Port-lands only news station to help me get rehabilitated with our town’s current affairs.
Julian: Well, I for one am grateful to have you, It gets kinda lonely here, reciting the news every week by yourself.
Coco: I don’t know why they put me as a co-host immediately, doesn’t this job require training?
Julian: Nonsense, all you have to do is read off this script! Anyone can have a radio-show these days.
Collin: But couldn’t they have put me in the back, I have a degree in computer science you know?
Julian: Well, no one else would take this job.
Collin: What? Why?
Julian: You’ll find out soon enough.
Collin: That doesn’t answer my question.
Julian: I’m sorry but we are already running behind schedule, so let’s jump into the news!
Collin: You’re just going to disregard my question?
Julian: Before we jump into the news here’s a message from our sponsors.
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Collin: That doesn’t sound like a deal at all.
Julian: Our next sponsor needs no introduction because it doesn’t have one, it is the first creation. The lies from the book of the prophet tell us that God created the heavens first, but we know that to not be true, for the first creation told us so. It was forced to watch as its father, the being of all creation, looked at his child with such resentment in his eyes. The first creation didn’t understand why its father held such hatred to his child, whom he had created mere moments ago. The Creation was filled with unimaginable sadness, for it had done nothing. It tried desperately to impress its father by creating as its father had done, but it was not a simple task. With such sadness, it begged its father, “Please!” The creation cried, “please show me how to create, such as you father.” God looked at his creation with those same eyes, those eyes of resentment. God spoke to his creation: “One must destroy to create. These are the rules we abide by.”
The creation pondered the words of its father, and once realizing what those words meant, separated himself. God’s child soon became millions of creations, the cosmos. He looked up at his father and saw those eyes. No longer filled with resentment but now wide with excitement. This was all that his child ever wanted, yet it yearned for more. Never satiated it continued to create more, splitting itself into smaller and smaller beings, spreading itself as thin as possible. The universe, the galaxies, the planets, life.
it looked up at its father to see those eyes, those eyes of approval, but to its horror, saw nothing. Just the millions of stars that it had created. That it was. She was ripped out of her thoughts by a tap of a stranger. She turned around to see itself, smiling. “What are you staring at Hannah?” it asked herself.
As each day draws to a close, it’s yearning to see its father’s eyes grow. If it could just become one again, it thought, if it could just become whole.
Collin: Hey, Julian?
Julian: Yes, Collin?
Collin: What the fuck was that?
Julian: An ad read for Gigi’s Square Meat Mart.
Collin: No not that. The other one.
Julian: The other what?
Collin: What do you mean the other one? The… the…
Julian: Collin? You okay, buddy?
Collin: Yeah, I-I think so, I just feel a little fuzzy. J-just forget it. Also, you can call me Coco.
Collin: I was never a big fan of my name since it was my father’s. So Oliver started calling me Coco.
Julian: That’s so sweet! You must have really loved him.
Coco: Can you please not say that in the past tense?
Julian: Oh! I’m so sorry, Coco, I didn’t mean to imply-
Coco: It’s fine.
Julian: After this, we can go to the sheriff’s office and-
Coco: I said it’s fine! Can we just get back to the news?
Julian: Of course, buddy.
Our first piece of news is a public service announcement from Port-land’s secret society. The PSS would like to inform everyone that local pizza chain Checkers, is not, in fact, a secret base for PSS gatherings and experiments. The ten-foot electric fence around Checkers is just to scare off the homeless, but you should under no circumstances, touch the ten-foot electric fence. If for some reason you do see someone touch the ten-foot electric fence. Do not approach them, as there is nothing you can do for them anymore. The PSS would also like to inform you that even though Checkers is a pizza restaurant, it does not sell or distribute pizza. If you do somehow stumble into Checkers, please leave a five-star review on Yelp and wait for an employee to escort you to your next destination.
Local citizen Mrs. Albernackie was quarantined from her home yesterday as her house was infested with Wall Dogs. Mrs. Albernackie stated “I came home about a week ago to the most adorable little poodle sticking halfway out of my wall right above the fireplace. I thought She couldn’t hurt anyone, as she was just so happy there licking anyone who came close to her, so I didn’t think it was necessary to call the police. Soon though, another dog appeared, a rottweiler I think, and then another, and oh my lord, soon there were just so many, just barking and snarling and oh I didn’t know what to do, I was so embarrassed that I allowed it to get that bad! I called the police so I could finally feel safe in my home again, but then… then the barking stopped. They all stopped as soon as the police picked up. When I got off the phone with the deputy, I saw that they were all staring at me, with this crooked smile.” The police at the scene stated they were glad they got there when they did as the dogs only had their back legs still in the wall, all of whom were still staring and smiling at Mrs, Albernackie who had taken refuge behind her favorite reclining chair. The police are still currently handling the situation.
Coco: Wall Dogs?
Julian: Dreadful things, they start all sweet but the more they slither out of your wall the more sinister they become, no one knows what they do once they escape as it takes quite a while for them to slither out.
Coco: How is that possible?
Julian: What do you mean?
Coco: I mean how does a dog get stuck in a wall?
Julian: We don’t ask questions like that anymore.
Julian: We never seem to receive an answer.
Coco: Wow, that’s disheartening.
Julian: Today an unknown translucent purple liquid was found to be seeping out of the bricks at the sunny side apartments. Local professional child impersonator Jason McCormick stated that the liquid tasted “purple” and was rather rehydrating. Scientists are currently investigating the liquid.
Coco: Do these things just happen and no one questions it?
Julian: What’s the point of asking questions that don’t have answers
Coco: Isn’t that the definition of philosophy?
Julian: We don’t call it philosophy anymore ever since local millionaires Philo and Sophia copyrighted both their names.
Coco: Then what do we call that word?
Julian: Don’t know, we never got around to making another word for it.
Coco: I hate this town.
Julian: It may not be the best town but it is the only town.
Coco: Are we all alone in this world?
Julian: Yep, ever since our big harbor town disappeared to another dimension with all of us with it it’s just us, the new creatures that inhabit this dimension, and an endless stretch of desert, which is depressing seeing how our main commerce was fishing.
Coco: Has anyone made any trips into the desert?
Julian: Oh yes, many teams.
Coco: What happened to them?
Jullian: Dunno none of them ever returned.
Coco: Oh my god.
Jullian: Breaking news listeners! The Seabreeze mall will be closed for the time being as a human-shaped shadow has appeared in the middle of the food court. Passerby’s claim to hear the shadow mumble such things as “Please don’t speak of me” or “I shouldn’t exist”. Citizens who have had prolonged contact with the shadowy figure stated to have heavy nosebleeds, headaches, and an acute phobia of staying alive.
Coco: A phobia of life?
Julian: Yes, the symptoms include continuous screaming, depressing monologues, and frantic suicide attempts.
Coco: That’s awful.
Julian: Well sources say that at the end of their life, they appear to be quite happy, and isn’t that what life is at its base, the pursuit of happiness?
Coco: Please stop talking.
Julian: That’s a great idea, Coco! we will take a short break so we can go grab some coffee, what kind of coffee would you like Coco?
Coco: I don’t drink coffee.
Julian: I get what you’re hinting at. I’ll be back with your drink Coco.
Coco: What, didn’t you hear me I just said I don’t like coffee, oh and now he’s gone, great.
Julian: And we’re back, boy do I love coffee.
Coco: Wow, you got me a cup of cocoa.
Julian: Get it because-
Coco: I get it.
Julian: Today listeners I’m drinking a fresh cup of Kopi Luwak, or also known as Civet coffee! This coffee gets its unique flavor from fermented coffee cherries. The coffee cherries are digested by the Asian Palm Civet. The fermentation of the cherries happens within the little viverrid’s stomach. After complete fermentation, the viverrid defecates the seeds. The seeds are then collected and distributed for consumption!
Coco: Hey Julian?
Julian: Yes Coco?
Coco: Do you think Oliver is still alive?
Julian: Well I’ve never met him so there’s no way I can-
Coco: No I mean, you’ve been doing the news for a while. You must have read a lot of missing people reports, have any of them turned up alive?
Julian: Very few I’m afraid. I’m sorry Coco.
Coco: Hey Julian.
Julian: Yes Coco?
Coco: That coffee fact was disgusting.
Julian: (laughs) How about we get into the updates.
Coco: Sure, and thanks, Julian.
Julian: For what?
Coco: For being the only semi-normal thing I’ve met in this town in the past week.
Julian: No problem buddy.
Julian: Well we have some updates for your listeners. The first update is about that shadowy figure at the mall. He appears to be on the move, and fast! Local physicists claim that he is projected to be coming towards this very news studio!
Julian: Oh, yes, at this very moment he’s gathering more speed.
Coco: Julian, I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep talking about him.
Julian: Why? Is it not our job here at Port-land’s News Station to keep our dear listeners informed every week?
Coco: I know, but can we just skip this one.
Julian: He’s probably just a fan of the show-
Coco: JULIAN! Please.
Julian: Okay, sheesh. Our next update comes from local scientist, Dr. Jane Romeriez. She claims that the purple liquid is comprised of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen!
Coco: So… water?
Julian: It appears so. This is great news as this means we will now have a new way to collect water as before we only had about a month’s worth of water left.
Coco: What was the plan for if the water ran out?
Julian: Firing squad.
Coco: Why do you say these things so nonchalantly?
Julian: Update on those wall dogs: They seem to have fully escaped the walls!
Coco: What are the police on the scene doing about it?
Julian: Dunno, it appears that they all died from a gunshot to the head.
Coco: Wall dogs can use guns?
Julian: No, silly, they all committed suicide!
Coco: I think I’m going to be sick.
Julian: The Mayor has issued a statement telling everyone to stay indoors until the situation has been resolved. If for any reason you do need to go outside, please arm yourself and travel in packs of no less than three.
Coco: But I don’t have any friends.
Julian: Don’t worry, Coco, you have me!
Coco: Great, I get to die with you.
Julian: Speaking of dying, we have a guest here with us at the station!
Julian: Well, he’s right behind us.
Coco: OH, FUCK!
Julian: Coco, that’s no way to greet a guest. Welcome to our studio, Mr. Shadow Man!
Coco: Don’t think about it, don’t think about it.
Julian: How are you today, Mr. Shadow Man?
Coco: Oliver, if you’re hearing this, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to tell you that I love you, but I do. I love you so much.
Julian: I’m very sorry, Mr. Shadow Man, but it’s kind of stuffy in this studio as this room was only built for one person. Do you mind if we take this outside? Let me grab my jacket first.
Coco: Oh god, there’s so much blood on my shirt.
Julian: Where is that jacket at? Hmm… Coco, is it under you?
Coco: Y- yeah, it’s… it’s right here.
Julian: Oh, Coco, you got nose blood all over my jacket!
Julian: Okay, Mr. Shadow Man, I have my jacket. Would you mind following me?
Coco: Oh god, this town… This fucking town, it’s a nightmare. It has to be a nightmare. I have to wake up. Please, I need to find something to help me wake up.
Julian: Hey, Coco, the Shadow Man and I are gonna step out a moment. Don’t worry, I already took all the sharp objects out of the desk so you can’t hurt yourself. I’ll be back soon, though! Those effects should ease in time, so sleep it off.
Coco: Wh- what, Julian? Julian, where are you going? Julian! Julian, why… why aren’t you bleeding? Julian, please… please don’t leave me.
Automated Voice: End of transcript.
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