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PHC Halloween Radio[]

The sound of clanging metal echoed through dark, claustrophobic caverns. The scent of sweat and cave moss filled my nostrils as I continued to bash away at the illuminated chunk in front of me. Gasping for air, I slumped against the cold, damp wall, my pickaxe dropping to the ground, my headlamp nearly falling off my head. Heaving, I checked my watch. 8:00. Not even close to done, I thought, sighing heavily.
Drip, drip, drip. The sound reverberated through the tunnel as the liquid dripped on my head. Sighing, I stood up, my aching legs and burning arms a testament to how much I really wanted the break to end. Nonetheless, I had to get back to work. A full day was ahead of me, and I had to catch up. I took out my pride and joy, a small portable radio that I crafted from the little scraps I could grab from the mines. Worked like a charm, too. Flicking the switch, the radio started to play some crappy pop song from the 90s. Groaning, I turned the knob to a familiar channel.

“You’re listening to 108.9, the Music Box! Playing all of the classic hits from the 70s! Now coming at you with their hit single, Don't Stop Me Now by Queen!”

Now this was good music. The beautifully composed beginning with the piano, the soothing voice of Freddie Mercury, followed by the amazingly smooth tempo change and the leading hi-hat. Wagging my finger to the beat, I felt my strength returning to my legs and arms. Before too long, as the song echoed through the cavern, I found myself joining the driving percussion with my own clanking beat, bringing down the pickaxe with vigor and excitement. Time almost seemed to speed up with every driving beat, and before I knew it, I had torn down the entire cluster. Onto the next one. As I danced to the next cluster, I air guitared the solo like I was still a child, still young, still energetic. “Don’t stop me, don’t stop me!” I’d sing, and my mom responded with Freddie’s iconic lines. Dancing through the living room, feeling the air rush around me like a vicious, gentle tornado was swirling inside our house. As the final notes would play on the stereo, we’d slowly embrace, and everything would feel… perfect.

The radio sizzled to a stop. Panting, I placed down my pickaxe and rushed to the radio. Dead. Looking at my watch, I wasn’t surprised. “Welp, day’s over. Time to head out.” I muttered to myself, picked up my radio and waved goodbye to the old cave. These tunnels were like a maze, always twisting and turning, and yet I’d been here hundreds of times. Making a left, I expected to see the entrance light. However, when I turned, my stomach twisted. The entrance, or what was left of it, was now covered by a multitude of boulders and rocks.

“What?” was all I could say, “when… when did this rockslide happen?” Reaching for my pickaxe, I grasped thin air.

“Maybe I left it back where I was working…?” I questioned. Turning around, I nearly bumped into the wall of the cave, noticing the dead end.

“But… I just came that w-...” I trailed off, having noticed the blood-red writing on the wall.

Remember what happened: Channel 197.9

Music started ringing through the dark tunnel. Slowly pivoting, I noticed the eerie blue light from my daypack. Unzipping to the

song of the Monster Mash, I picked up the radio, which had just finished humming its latest tune.

“You are listening to Channel 197.9, PHC Halloween Radio! Hope you’re all sitting nice and cozy at home, because monsters are prowling about! Some will even attempt to enter your house and take all of your sweets! How creepy! Speaking of which, the hit single Creep by Radiohead!” With that, the radio started crooning the duet of drum and guitar.

My face went pale. Dropping the radio to the ground, I whimpered. “No… no. Anything but that. No, no, no!” Covering my ears, I cried out. I started stomping on the radio. “No! No! No! No!” Each word louder and louder, stomping harder and harder, the song crescendoing more and more. As the song ended, I dropped to the ground. The radio, still running, still playing, still perfectly fine, sat next to me. Blinking away the tears, I twisted the power knob. Silence filled the small, dark room. The room felt… smaller. The walls loomed over me, shadows from my headlamp dancing on the wall. Drip, drip, drip. Turning to look at the wall, I saw the blood red writing.

Face what happened: Channel 198.0

The radio slowly whirred back to life, as the knobs started turning on their own. I panicked, kicking it away.

“You are listening to Channel 198.0, PHC News! It’s a wonderful Halloween night, and the air is filled with fright! However, the things that go bump in the night did something more terrible than usual. Nicole Fredericks, a 35 year-old lady was rushed to the hospital, having suffered serious head trauma. The police have deemed this to be attempted murder, and have advised all to be on the lookout for Nicole’s husband, Matthew Fredericks. Their son has also gone missing. If anyone notices them, please call the number —” I turned the knob off.

The echoes of the cave started to sound different. “You can’t do this, hon! You need to stop drinking before you do something horrible!” she would say. He’d just sneer and continue downing another bottle.

One night, Mom wasn’t feeling so well. We were taking a walk in the park, Mom was going to give Dad a letter when Dad wanted to play baseball. He… hit the ball too hard. After playing with Mom, he was going to play baseball with me. Then I saw Mom’s letter opener. I threw myself through the trees and the brush, as far as I could into the forest, and then…

The headlamp had dimmed to almost nothing. I couldn’t see anything in the cave, all except for the radio. The walls of the cave

were approaching, each one grinning happily. I closed my eyes, plunging myself into sweet, blissful darkness, while only the static of the radio echoed through the small, claustrophobic room.

SaladTopping (talk) 04:42, 15 October 2023 (UTC)

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HopelessNightOwl (talk) 19:02, 15 October 2023 (UTC)[]

The idea of weirdness happening on FM radio during Halloween is really interesting, but this piece is too vauge for my liking.

I feel like I need a TL;DR just to follow it.

Are the events in the mine supposed to even be real, or are they a dream/delusion of the protagonist? Questions like this are left unanswered, and not in a way that makes it interesting.

The mine setting itself doesn't make a ton of sense if it's supposed to be really happening. I don't think one guy working alone in a tunnel with a headlamp and pickaxe instead of a group with installed lighting is something that really happens anymore these days.

By the way, the FM dial ends at 108.0, so I don't know if the 108.9 is an intentional bit of weirdness but if not then it's an inaccuracy.