'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".)


Tonight I'm hauling a full trailer of beef from Dallas to Charlotte. I've been awake for eighteen hours already, but you know, even in a refrigerated trailer, the meat has an expiration date. They're required by law to put the packing date on it, and of course nobody wants to buy old meat.


I've bought a six-pack of Monster which I'm half through already. (short pause) The moon looks bright and big tonight, but there's a layer of clouds that wash it out into a blurry light in the sky.


(4 second pause)


I've seen every weather this part of the world has to offer, I reckon. From down Texas way, where there are lots of meat packing plants, to the East Coast, where there are lots of people who want steak dinners. (short pause) When I get to Charlotte, I'm gonna sleep for four hours or so in my truck before going to pick up my next cargo and setting off for New Jersey.


Now, I don't mind my job, generally. I don't mind being alone, or driving long distances. But sometimes the deadlines pile up like this, and you've gotta power through days of driving on no sleep, and I kind of hate it. My eyes are prickling, the way they do when your body wants to be tired but can't.


(8 second pause. The broadcaster can be heard drinking; shortly after, there is the sound of an aluminum can being crumpled.)


Anyways, I wanted to tell y'all a story. Now, I know some of y'all have heard this one before. (Note: there is no evidence to suggest that this story has been told or even referenced in any other broadcast.) It's why I'd much rather cross the street than have to walk right past a manhole.


Now, I started seeing weird things right about when the Angel came to me. And before y'all start connecting the dots and thinking this is all just a big delusion, believe me, buddy, you're not thinking anything I ain't thought a million times. But at this point, I figure questioning my perception of reality is about as useless as something useless.


(short pause)


I was on the job, in a hurry, but in those days I still hadn't really acclimatized to having the Angel around. I thought I was gonna die if I had to spend another minute driving, with it in the passenger seat, just watching me.


(5 second pause)


It's really amazing what a person can get used to. I'm looking at it now. And yeah, I still think it's awful ugly, but I guess I just… got used to it. Back then, I tried my damnedest to keep my eyes in the road, tried my damnedest to pretend it wasn't just as clear in my peripheral vision as when I was looking right at it.


As soon as I reached a town, I found a parking lot and left the truck there. I stumbled out of the driver's seat, decided I'd take a little walk to clear my head. At least I was smart enough to remember to lock the truck before I left it.


Now, I know what y'all are going to think. Yeah, I climbed down an open manhole. Even with something like an angel following me around, that's kind of a weird thing to do. But, look, I don't think it's as weird as it sounds. I think the Angel had the same idea, like maybe it wanted me down there. (short pause) I think sometimes it wants to show me things.


(short pause)


I ended up getting totally lost down there. It was dark, and it smelled like nobody's business. And what was worse, I still couldn't get rid of the Angel for the life of me.


Well, I've learned my lesson. Running ain't helpful.


Anyways, down there… After a while, the maintenance shafts turned into tunnels. The walls were all covered in… well, let's just call it grime. Brown grime. I was sure I wasn't headed the right way, but what was I going to do? Head back the way I came and get lost in the other direction?


I followed the tunnels down, down. Down past the sewers, and then deeper. I joked with myself that the air was getting warmer, because I was getting closer to the Earth's core. It wasn't terribly funny. (short pause) Every now and then, some of the stuff coating the walls would drip on me. It got down the back of my neck. It was cold. (short pause) I didn't like that at all.


Now, I don't know if the Angel was still herding me, even down there, or if it was just dumb chance, but eventually I came into this real big room. Giant. There was a pool in there, the size of a lake. Hell, it coulda been the size of the Atlantic Ocean for all I know – I couldn't see the other edge. It was filled to the brim with more of the brown stuff. Liquid with solid chunks. I thought I'd pass out from the smell.


And over all of it, floating there like some kinda horrible sun, was the Angel, looking like a river of wine flowing through a gate of bones. Or maybe it was the other way round.


(7 second pause. During the silence, the broadcaster can be heard opening another can of carbonated beverage.)


They didn't like that I was there, I think. (short pause) They came climbing up out of the pool, towards me. I was more of a scaredy-cat back then, so I just stood frozen. They… (short pause) I know this is gonna sound dumb. They were human-shaped, but I couldn't tell what they looked like at first, underneath the grime. But it started dripping off of them, and…


They all looked like President Obama. Yep. And they weren't wearing masks, neither. Clones, ghosts, I don't know what, but it was a perfect likeness.


They had glassy eyes, and their mouths were all slack, but moving, like they were trying to tell me something. They didn't make a sound, though. And they all wore tailored suits. Perfect, professional cuts. Shame about the, uh… the "bath."


See, I told you it was gonna sound stupid. (short pause) Right then, though, staring at 'em, I wasn't in a position to appreciate the absurdity.


I just ran for it, willy-nilly. No plan. Found my way back to the maintenance tunnels eventually. (short pause) I don't remember how, but I found my way. Didn't take long before I was back on street level. God, I still remember how good it felt to breathe air again.


The whole thing cost me a good few hours, and I wound up making the delivery late.


(4 second pause)


I saw another weird thing another time, speaking of (unintelligible)


(The broadcast devolves into static. Vague, distorted sounds can just barely be made out through the static: thumps and unintelligible shouts. After a good half minute of this, the broadcast ends.)