's 2015 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Miranda Johansson

(Note: The following is a transcript of a broadcast made by an anonymous broadcaster on CB radio, somewhere in the American south or along the East Coast. It is one of a number of similar broadcasts made on a particular frequency during the late summer and fall of 2015. The broadcaster never reveals anything about herself, except for a few details: she consistently makes references to her job as a truck driver; she appears to identify as female and sometimes refers to herself as "Joanne" or "Jo"; and she claims to be haunted by a bizarre being which she refers to as "the Angel".)


You run into strange people in this line of work. (short pause) I mean, I imagine you run into strange people no matter who you are or what you do. I imagine everyone's a little strange. But there's something about…


Well, I figure "strange" wouldn't exist without "normal," right? So what's normal? I figure normal is when you sleep at night and wake up in the morning. Work nine to five and go home. So when you mangle your sleep schedule for a living, that's gotta be strange, right?


So you run into strange people when you're a trucker. Truck stops and all-night gas stations… They're weird to begin with, but when it's in the middle of the night and you're running on a two-hour power nap, they start to get really…


(5 second pause)


It's an empty kind of night. It's got me in the mood to tell ghost stories, I guess.


I met a guy once, at a bar. It was in the middle of winter, but the roads were great, and I was ahead of schedule. So I figured I'd stop somewhere, get out of the truck and stretch my legs a little, maybe buy a candy bar or something.


Then I saw the bar, all lit up with those neon beer signs, and I figured what the hell. And I know some of y'all are probably thinking, "but Jo, you were driving!" Well, sure, and I drive for a living, so I know pretty well what I can and can't handle. Ask any trucker, and they'll tell you that when you're alone on the road in the middle of the night, it's much more pleasant to drive if you've got a one-beer buzz going.


So I park outside the bar and head in. It was a Wednesday night after midnight, so it wasn't very surprising to see that it was almost completely empty in there. There was just a bartender, some guy staring into his beer, and the Angel.


I've said the Angel follows me around, but that's not really true, because it's always there before me. Like now – I'd left it in the truck, felt it watching me while I crossed the parking lot, and now it was there, in the bar, when I came in. It didn't seem very interested in the place, though. It was in the corner, watching passively, turning itself into a number of concentric, revolving wheels of flesh.


I headed over to the bar and ordered myself a beer on tap. Now, the guy… (short pause) The other customer, I mean, not the bartender. He looked absolutely terrible. Malnourished. But I thought, whatever, I'd been driving for a good few hours, I probably didn't look that great myself.


(7 second pause; the broadcaster can be heard opening a can of carbonated beverage and taking a drink.)


I never caught the guy's name. Or anything about him, really. He didn't tell me, and I didn't ask. I figured he just needed someone to vent to, so I let him speak.


He talked about some cult he'd been a member of, down New Orleans way. They were all rich, bored. Wanted to do something a little exciting and dangerous, I reckon. The guy was sweating, told me he knew they knew he was telling me this, told me they'd punish him. (short pause) He was definitely drunk.


According to the guy, this cult used to get up to all kinds of weird shit, pardon my French. Used to gather in their fancy houses and slaughter dogs and lay out the pieces all ritual, in patterns on the floor, like some kinda messed up Rorschach ink blot test.


(5 second pause)


Anyways, at this point I started thinking maybe the guy wasn't just malnourished. He looked… haunted. I started thinking maybe the guy was bad news, and I wanted to get away from him. So I put a few dollars on the counter, excused myself and headed into the ladies' room.


In the bathroom I could see the Angel in the mirror, but not anywhere in the room. It was watching me, like always. (short pause) So I finish my business, and when I come out, the guy is gone. I tell the bartender thanks and goodbye and head out.


I'm out there, lighting a cigarette, when I hear these weird sounds. These weird moans, and a clicking noise, sounds kinda like someone dropping pebbles on the ground.


So I head around the corner, looking for what's making the sounds, and I see the guy from the bar. He's standing up near the wall, stumbling in place, like he doesn't know what to do with himself. He's… (short pause) Teeth were coming out of him in droves, way too long and thin for a jaw as shallow and human as his. That was the other sound, his teeth clitter-clattering onto the asphalt. There was already a respectable pile around his feet.


He didn't seem to notice I was there, and I just finished my cigarette, watching him dully. When I was done, I dropped my cig and stepped on it, headed back to my truck, and got on with my delivery.


(5 second pause)


Well, I guess maybe he needed help. (short pause) Yeah, yeah. Shame on you, Jo. Well, I figure constantly having something that looks like a spinning flower made outta bisected cat skulls for a co-pilot desensitizes you a little. Anyways, I'm sure the guy could take care of himself.


Alright, I'm done babbling. Take care, folks, and keep an eye on the road.


(The broadcast ends.)