The meat hissed as it slapped onto the grill, and the Pit Master pressed down with his chrome spatula, not hard enough to release the juices, but enough to sear the geometry of the cooking grate into the beef.
“It was big.”
I saw it a few nights after that. I was sitting in the kitchen, and I heard what I thought was the cat, coming down the hall. It wasn’t the cat. But it wasn’t much smaller, either.
Tradition has it they come out of the mountains once a year at Golowan Night, in midsummer, to visit the Town. They walk the streets; see what’s changed, and then they take one thing back with them.
Performed by Jonathan Shaboo.
From a central column, it branched upward; a disturbingly fleshy plant corralled into a rigid, diamond lattice. It had no leaves, which I thought strange; so few plants are ever out of season in a greenhouse.
Performed by Annelise Hawrylak.
Antlers are the fastest growing bone in the animal kingdom. In June and July, the antlers of a White-tailed deer can grow as fast as an inch a day. An inch. In order to grow so quickly, the bones need blood; lots of it, and so they’re covered in a thin, soft tissue filled with blood vessels. Velvet.
I am currently standing in the biomedical laboratories of the *REDACTED*—or simply the Institute, as I shall here on refer to it as—and am just outside of the main lab. In front of me is the holotype, species yet unnamed, currently thawing after being put on ice to best preserve its tissue.
Don’t worry though. I know I look a little intimidating to everyday people, but I promise there’s a reason for the way I look. I’m not gonna talk your ear off, either. I know most people hate having people next to them on the bus, but I’m usually able to change their minds.
But enough about me. Where are you going?
Performed by Joey Graff.
The rest of her pregnancy was without complication. The town marvelled; many had been sure she would die. But she had picked up a strange habit. It was remarked on in town how she would leave her home in the evenings, and walk along water’s edge in the marsh, even until long after dark.
Performed by Tara Wink.
See, what you oughta do is get yourself an older vehicle. Take the Chimera for example. That engine has been running smooth and clean for over 60 years. With a few replacement parts, of course. They just don’t make cars like this anymore.
Say, could you hand me that flathead over there? The missing leg makes walking to the tool bench a real pain.
Open your eyes. Don’t fall asleep, you mustn’t fall asleep. You have to stay awake, or the crows will eat you. Some think that they go for the eyes first, but it’s always the tongue. They take your tongue so you cannot cry for help, then leave you to bleed. The eyes they save for last.
Performed by Thomas Gough.
You've been so good this year that we decided to leave you an extra little something in your stocking. Just make sure to give it a few good whacks before reaching in, to make absolute sure that it's dead.
Performed by Anthony Botelho and Tara Wink.
Later, I found out it was the coldest that day had been in a hundred years. I’m convinced I nearly died on the road that afternoon. And there’d be times that night when I wasn’t sure I hadn’t, and that the cabin I’d arrived at wasn’t hell.
The letters swam, spilling into different words, which I read as they appeared.
“The crowning achievement of the Greatest and Best was Universal Discovery. Our voyagers found the outermost edge of the universe. Do you understand? The absolute end of everything. We found the answers we were looking for, and the answers you are looking for. We built this monument afterwards. Come and see.”
Performed by Amaka Umeh, and featuring Chris Vergara and Anthony Botelho.
I never thought a hospital could be so pleasant. It began to feel like a home and besides the healing, visits from friends, and watching some of the trashiest daytime TV you can imagine, it was a pretty uneventful winter for me.
Except for that one night of course.
Performed by Hugh Ritchie.
Not long after Thomas’ return, I started noticing strange things in and around the house. Noises at first, at night. Something like the sound of distant thunder. Boom… boom… boom… off in the distance, in the middle of the night. Oddly, at around the same time Thomas would leave bed.
Performed by Rachel Hart.
The chill wind blows and carries the smell of pumpkin rot. Creatures and bones and things peer from every home. The doorbell rings in the dead of night on a dark street. Do you dare answer? It must be time for more snips, and it must be time for Halloween.
Featuring, in order of appearance, Anthony Botelho, Rachel Hart, Jacob Duarte Spiel, Alexander Saxton, Hugh Ritchie, Liz Der, Chris Vergara, Margaret Rose, and Jada Rifkin.
Now, that all sounds a bit dispassionate and business-minded when I listen to myself. This isn’t supposed to be a sales pitch. No… please don’t mistake me as being blase, this work really is my passion. As are the pigs.
The sun was right overhead. It was so hot I thought the plastic wheels of my travel bag would melt to the pavement. As I turned from the parking lot down the side of the highway, the fresh dose of codeine washed over me, like white surf on a sunlit beach. The pills made everything even brighter and hazier. I felt like I was floating on the thick humid air, floating down the road like a raft down a warm stream.
Performed by Liz Der.
"It’s dangerous to face them alone. You must have others with you, others you trust, even if it puts them in danger." That's what Laudens told me when I first became the Catcher. It was the soundest of advice. And yet, sometimes we do not have the luxury of following sound advice.
Featuring Thomas Gough.
Sit tight folks, We're Taking Calls. Followed by announcements for Season 3.
Featuring Alexander Saxton, Jada Rifkin, and Anthony Botelho.
She would stand in purple darkness, back pressed against one of the marble pillars supporting the window’s arch, and strain her ears to catch scraps of conversation as they drifted up through the purple leaves and white flowers of the citrus trees. In Constantinople, somebody was always listening.
Stay tuned for updates on Season 3.
And then, some strange, lingering sense of wrongness resolved itself into a realization. The people at this party were strange. They were all slightly too long and slender in the limbs and body. They all moved the same way, with the same liquid nonchalance.
Featuring Alexander Saxton, Mirka Loiselle, and Louis-Alexandre Boulet.
But on one night – it was late in the fall, I think – a foreign sound leaked into my father’s left ear, the one with the hearing aid. He took out the device and shook it, a habit that seemed to help, like the way you might hit an old radio to get it back to its senses. But when he put it back in, the sound didn’t disappear; if anything, it became a little clearer.
She looked down at her drink, and tilted it to watch the fluid stick to the sides of the glass. She wrinkled her nose. He’d said it was “Bessenjenniver,” a specialty, and the bartender had poured her a thick shot in a yellowed tumbler, after unscrewing the cap and tearing open a crust of old sugar. For this, he had charged the absurd sum of 35 cents.
Featuring Frances Loiselle and Alexander Saxton