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“It sure is foggy out there tonight, metal heads. Make sure not to get caught in some monster's trap! You're listening to The Harrowing Hour on 68.7 Metal Penetration. I'm DJ Razor Beck, and stay safe out there in the underground, folks. We'll be back with the latest Axromorph single “The Blood of Ythmyr”. After, of course, these capitalistic ear creepers pay for our lights. You're listening to The Harrowing Hour. As if you didn't know!”

Colin McCaffry turned down the radio in his car. He was on his way home after another boring day in retail. He was exhausted from arranging the store for the next day's inventory, but he was quite grateful that he, at least, didn't work at a Hot Topic or a Game Stop. He imagined working at one of those chains to be equal to hanging oneself with their pay check while having ones legs mutilated by corporate. He was quite cynical.

Colin brushed his head in back and forth motions, sighing heavily as he drove down his usual route. There were advertisements for fast food “restaurants”, hotels, gas, and even a few pizza places.

“Come to think of it,” Colin thought to himself and definitely no one else, “it isn't so late. Only about 11:30. I haven't eaten, and I'm sure someone's there.”

He pulled into the nearest parlor, and was relieved when he found them open. He ordered two large, stuffed crusts with extra cheese both in and on the dough. Living alone gave him plenty of seconds. They took roughly an hour, leaving him incredibly starved for the Fat Italian/ Fat American hybrid. As soon as he had tipped the cashier and baker, he sandwiched two slices together and downed them with barely a bite between.

He threw the boxes onto the passenger seat, and resumed his trek home. He found himself consuming a slice and taking a sip of “Mountain Thunder” every ten minutes or so. Damn good pizza, he thought. He had to take a few detours around main street as they were patching the road, but he didn't want to bother with the hassle of dodging shoddy city craftsmanship.

He turned the radio back up, long missing the Harrowing Hour, now beginning the Night Razor. Colin always liked this show, and always tried to listen on his way home on late nights. Every time he tuned in, it would feel as if the world stopped turning long enough for him to catch the entire show. It was strange to him really. He couldn't remember what previous episodes had been about, but this night's episode must be a repeat.

“This isn't unusual,” he thought. “I think Art Bell shows play from time to time in the middle of the night on the weekends. Those were weird and wacky most of the time. I liked when Adult Swim had Space Ghost to Coast. Nowadays, they show those 4 AM Heart Attacks that they deny exist. Bunch of Hipsters. Another slice.”

Chewing another delicious piece of pizza, he turned his attention back to the radio. It was garbled a bit, but it didn't bother him too much. He could make out the deep voice of man and the soft soprano of a woman as they were sipping from a couple of mugs. They were discussing pieces of piano music, whispering almost, and they were very loving towards each other.

“This piece is quite exquisite, don't you think Elaine?” the man asked his companion quietly in an inquisitive and assertive manner. Colin thought he sounded a bit like Malcolm McDowell. His co-host made an affirmative noise in between sips. “Indeed, Francis. It is exceptionally balanced and very emotional. This is definitely one that you absolutely must hear within your life time.”

“I don't remember these people at all,” thought Colin as he picked up a slice of his stuffed crust and took another swig of his less-than-off-brand drink. “I don't remember these guys. And piano music? I thought this was more about metal? What is... ooh, pizza.” “Well, everyone, my partner and I will be right back after this lovely piece by Alexei Tchorkosvky called 'Sunlight Bloom'. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do, isn't that right Elaine?”

“Indeed, Francis.”

Colin tuned out as the piece began. He felt like he had been driving longer than usual. He brushed it off as him being incredibly tired, but his pizza was still warm enough to delight in. He kept his eyes on the long, dark stretch of road ahead of him. It was familiar enough for him to autonomously operate through the fog as he began thinking about his next work day, and how he would be the one that had to scan literally everything. He wanted to pound his head into the steering wheel, just to call in sick.

He was jumped from his reverie by a strange gurgling noise emitting from the radio. It was low and distorted by static and reverb. It was talking in a strange language, almost as if it were a mix of Arabic and Mandarin spoken backwards. Colin was stunned enough that he couldn't even reach for the next helping of pizza. He just did what he could in this situation and drove through the fog mantled road.

“The trees look lovely don't they, McCaffry?” He heard from the radio. His eyes were locked to the road, as sweat beaded down his temples. He was choking on his breath with each passing moment.

"Breathe,” the voice commanded, and Colin obeyed.

“Is the pizza tasty? You must like it.” His eyes wandered toward the boxes on his seat. The top was open, but, to Colin's disturbing horror, the only slices missing were the two he ate back at the parlor. He couldn't believe this was happening, hoping that he had just fallen asleep in the parlor's parking lot or maybe jettisoned off the road with this being Purgatory.

“It isn't that simple,” he heard bubble from the static. “But there's no need to explain, as you won't remember. You're mine, yet again little bauble. And we're up for a little mischief tonight.”

Colin just stared into the never-ending, always repeating road ahead of him. He couldn't move his body anymore. It was no longer in his capacity to move freely. He wanted to scream, but, unlike the pawns of AM, he had a mouth, and yet his vocal chords belonged to the entity across the airwaves. “Nice reference, Colin? Don't you think?”

Colin arrived home at around 12:30, closing his apartment door behind him. All his windows were locked and covered in curtains. He placed the pizza on his kitchen table, taking another sandwiched pizza bite. The stuffed crust was extremely delicious. He was disturbed by the cat's meowing at the far end of the room. Walking over to the room, he looked at what the tabby was scratching at, and opened the door. A woman was tied to a chair in the almost empty room. She was beaten and bloodied, duct tape nearly causing her to choke. She was awakened by the door opening and tried to force a scream, yet it was in vain.

“You shouldn't try that. These walls are sound proofed as best they can be. All the neighbors would hear would be slightly muffled singing. And all I would reply to their complaints with would be 'Won't happen again'!”

She sobbed, lowering head and bawling into her chest.

“I brought pizza, if you want any. It is quite exquisite, don't you think, Elaine?”

Credited to: D'aetheyleid

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