's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Finding You "

Submitted by Anonymous

One of the rather obvious effects of total surveillance of any given population is that you end up listening to some really weird things. You wouldn't believe the oddities we have stored in our archives - probably more than any one man could ever study on his own even by dedicating his whole career to the task.
It's lucky there's so damn many of us. Even with our resources tough, it can take us a while to register some of the more interesting things that are going on. Interesting or, in some cases, even downright unclassifiable.

Case in point, here's one of my personal favorites.

It might have never caught our attention if it hadn't been one of the last phone calls we recorded from the city of [REDACTED] before the nukes started raining in the War. We paid special attention to those last communications, even the ones that didn't have any of our trigger words in them.

Now this gem is peculiar for several reasons. The first, and officially the only reason why an entire team of investigators was assigned to it, was that we were utterly unable to determine the location of the party making the calls - something which basically never happens. In the official report, it was tentatively labeled a sort of technical glitch, rather than deliberate - and successful - beclouding.

The caller herself appears to be female, though not much more can be said about her, for she insisted on keeping her identity a secret even to the very end. In the transcripts, she is simply marked as '??? ?'.

The party receiving the calls on the other hand wasn't remarkable in any way. We're talking about an average citizen going by the name of [REDACTED]. Used to live in an apartment building in [REDACTED].

The earliest conversations between the two parties suggest that they had not had any prior contact. The anonymous caller claims to have dialed [REDACTED]'s number at random. Further investigation has shown that several other inhabitants of [REDACTED] had in fact received calls from this party, though she had not established a lasting correspondence with any of them.

Overall, the archives hold over 200 conversations between [REDACTED] and the anonymous caller. Most of these revolve around [REDACTED]' everyday life and common interests of the two parties, with especially vivid exchanges on subjects of popular culture and [REDACTED]. Repeatedly, [REDACTED] would attempt to find out more about the anonymous caller's identity, which proved mostly fruitless and seemed to amuse the caller to no end. Whenever she could be coaxed into dropping off hints, those tended to be utterly undecipherable to [REDACTED] and cause ever wilder speculation.

The transcript I will show to you today is based on the very last recorded conversation between the two parties, and the last thing ever heard of either them. [REDACTED]'s as well as the anonymous caller's fate and whereabouts remain unknown to this day.
The complete destruction of the city alone makes all investigation of the premises and reconstruction of the events complicated as it is. Dispatched hazmat teams and ground scanners have so far been unable to find any trace of the underground facilities mentioned in the conversation.


??? ? : Hi [REDACTED], it's me. Listen, I...

[REDACTED] : Where are you now?

??? ? : [REDACTED], you KNOW I...

[REDACTED] : No. No more of that 'mysterious stranger' bullshit. In case you haven't heard, they are going to nuke this city. Do you understand that? NUKE it. I'm planning on catching the last evacuation train, I'm late as it is. Tell me you're not in this city. Please tell me you're not anywhere NEAR this damn city.

??? ? : (Gulping) [REDACTED]... I... I just called to say goodbye. I.... I really loved talking to you. It was great. I will miss you... I will miss you a whole lot.

[REDACTED] : (After a pause) You're actually here. And you're staying.

??? ? : I already told you, [REDACTED], I'm pretty stationary... And with 'pretty' I mean 'totally'. I'm sorry. I'll be okay, I think. It's all concrete and steel down here, you know...

[REDACTED] : I'm not going to leave you here.

??? ? : Wait, what are you...?

[REDACTED] : I'll come and get you. Tell me where you are.

??? ? : [REDACTED], I literally cannot move out of here. I can't even be transported. I'm stuck for good. There's nothing you can do.

[REDACTED] : Then I'll stay too.

??? ? : NO, [REDACTED]. NO.

[REDACTED] : I'm NOT going without you. There's no way I'm going without you!

??? ? : Get on that stupid train, [REDACTED]! There is literally no way you want to stay. Oh my fucking god.

[REDACTED] : Let me be the judge of that. Tell me where you are.

??? ? : FUCK that.

[REDACTED] : I'm staying either way. I'm not leaving without you. Either you tell me where I can find you, or I'll just watch the nukers drop from my damn living room window. It's your call.

??? ? : [REDACTED], you don't understand. You don't want to do this. You don't want to... Okay, let me put it this way. No matter who or WHAT you think I am, you're wrong. 1000% WRONG. Jesus-furiously-copulating-Christ, there's no words for how wrong you are. Can't really be any clearer than this. Get on the fucking train, [REDACTED]. Live your life. Forget we ever talked at all.

[REDACTED] : Okay, so I guess I'm just being nuked to death today. Alone. Bummer, really.

??? ? : [REDACTED], don't be an asshole!

[REDACTED] : Oh, you know me. Seriously though, I'm not gonna change my mind. Forget it.

??? ? : [REDACTED]!

[REDACTED] : Yep, I'm relaxing on my couch right now. Got a really nice view here. They should be coming from the west, don't you think? Though I suppose they could also take a southern route...

??? ? : JESUS FUCKING MARIA... I... I'm under the city. You know the old [REDACTED] in [REDACTED]? WAY below that. There's a trap door on the bottom, and from there it's stairs and more stairs and there's tunnels and hallways and then they're GONE, but even then it goes DEEPER, and DEEPER STILL, and THEN THERE'S ME. (Sobbing, out of breath) There. Are you happy now?

[REDACTED] : (Chuckling) I'm coming. Just hold on.

??? ?: This... this is crazy. You have no idea what you're getting into.

[REDACTED] : I'm gonna be with you. That's all I need to know.

??? ? : [REDACTED]... Please... There is NO LIGHT where I am. You'll have to go through the darkness... You won't see me. You won't even hear me, I have no voice down here. You... you'll have to feel for me... in the dark... [REDACTED], you just don't KNOW...

[REDACTED] : I'll know soon enough. Now for that trap door...

??? ? : You can't miss it. It's huge. There's a code for it, it goes [REDACTED]. You... you need to hurry. I can't believe you're doing this. I guess you're not going to believe it either. (Chuckles, Sobbing) Oh wow. You... You can't even begin to imagine...

[REDACTED] : (Repressed sobbing) I'm coming for you. I love you.

??? ? : (Repressed sobbing) I love you too.

[End of conversation]