Midnight Ride Radio
rating: +27+x

Somewhere, a radio clicks on. It pops and fizzles, working its way through the static until it stumbles into a sudden and piercing clarity. A bus skids to a halt, letting out a deep breath as it shakes on its suspension. The doors open, taking in the cold midnight air, then mustering it, Clarity speaks:

"Hey there, strangers.

The bus has rolled up to your stop, so hop in and take a seat. Get comfortable. Get stuck in. Get smooth. The moon is high, the sky is clear, and you're taking a Midnight Ride tonight.

I know at least one of yous’ here —at least— cuz we have a special segment avid listeners might just know…

That's right; I'm not at the wheel tonight.

In fact, our driver is a fresh faced somebody somewhere, lost in something, and fresh out of somewhat. I'd let them know what what is somehow, but sometimes you just have to let the river run.

Of course… stranger, you're busy at the wheel. So If I might just talk in your stead, or instead —charisma runs the world is all— then we'll start your tale a little ways away anyways.

Alright? Alright. Well, you're lying there, sweating, sheets clinging to your skin as the roar of the air conditioner starts once again. The power went out, then went back, and the fronts meeting have sent quite the perspiration down your spine. It drips and sizzles, interlocking, dragging you deeper into the waves that surround you, but you don't blink, you can't. Now isn't the time.

Really, there isn't time yet —there doesn't have to be time yet— cuz the darkness eating away at your surroundings is vibrant and purring. Hungry and ready. You step back across the threshold, and it takes you in whole. Writhing and fighting and shaking; unmoving.

You surface, dazed, and hot as ever, sweltering and drenched in a pile in bed. You're becoming —all to quickly— growing closer and closer to yourself as the moment realizes itself, but you miss, and betray yourself to the light.

Your soul knows it isn't morning. Before you lies an angel.

The angel warps the world into being, its halo wrought of golden tendrils that peek over your roommate's bed. Like a sunset pressed through a dusted screen, it bids you to peer, and as you conjure it into being, it twists in welcome, thanking you. You reach out towards it until it dies, lightning in a bottle fizzling away.

The world is cold. The angel is a bedside lamp.

Your sweat screams at the chill, making it clear that the ocean left you thirsty. Rising and falling, one with the tide as you stumble out of bed you worry that you've woken your roommate, but below that tepid air conditioner's bleating rests a snore, piercing, but safe —bless the heavens. With that respite, you gather yourself and meet the hallway, following the well-trodden road to salvation.

You don't need angels here anyway. The beat of your heartbeat fills the space and the drum of your footsteps shout it free. You are in control, and the control is necessary, so you are stuck here in control of nothing but what you need to live. Shelter and food and water in the fridge. You open it and notice that the power is out.

You find that funny.

After all, you went to sleep in your clothes from the day. It clings to you, with the sweat and the obligation. The doing, that you aren't now, is fulfilling. Not fulfilling, maybe —like the refrigerator should— would be good, for just a moment.

So you step out— out into the dry sea of lamplight angels who stare down the concrete, worshiping iron and rust, and begging, oh begging for grass and you. Each and every lightning eye, staring, focused on you. Saying,


You tread two steps forward and one to the side, then spin, and spin, taking the air with you and breathing it in violently and angrily. Your heart is hasty at the lack of control. Its thumps are uneven, it is tired, but you are free under the watchful eye of angels.

If you still need to breathe, you do so now.


And out.

As you reset yourself, you feel it catching up to you once more. The darkness. You can see it, on all sides, and above, and below. Even here, where you thought was free, it watches you, but unlike the angels, it hungers.

An angel dies. Sudden and sharp, a piercing dagger of darkness opens a flow. Dropping like flies, another follows. Wavering. Snapping. Crackling. Gone. You look up to see your guardian, too faltering.

Your eyes dart.

You spot a line of angels in a row.

So you run.


Chase them, chase them, spry little moth.
Fly, little moth, as the darkness grows.
Chase, little moth, run and chase salvation.
Lightning in a bottle won't help you no more.

No more.

With the last angel goes freedom, and with freedom the chains of darkness, once more, unblinking and total and true. It holds you in contempt. Ever contempt. Is that all this is?

Lightning in a bottle; was that all this is?

You cough. The air is dry as your lungs struggle to cheer you on.

You're still thirsty.

You look around, curious. It's strange, as the darkness seemed to tell you that you couldn't see, your eyes tell you just the opposite. You see darkness, yes, the shroud that surrounds you, but above them, towering high and mighty, are angels yet.

You can see. You are here, even if here —for the moment— is darkness. It's just the street, just another path you took, and you can leave at any time.

It's not lightning in a bottle.


It's the moon.

I'll let you sit for a moment and watch it. A pretty sight to be sure. Better than those prisons you call angels, or those dreams you call darkness.


Think about yourself a bit more. Think for yourself a bit more, even. Y'know, what? Have 5 dollars. Here. Go buy some water from the vending machine.

You step off the bus.

The vending machine hums gently, showering its surroundings in a gentle glow. It's strange to see an angel so docile, so contained.

You slide the crisp 5 dollar bill into the vending machine. It shakes. You shake. It's cold out here.

But that's ok, for the moment.

In the gentle light of the vending machine.

Taking a long drink of water.




It hits the bottom of your stomach like a shot put, sending you to your knees, gasping for air. You've done it now. What are you doing here? It's 5 AM and the light is so bright, and you're outside, and it isn't the moon or the sun. It's an angel.

You drop the water and fall back, scraping your hands against the concrete. It stings. You've been out too long. You can't see —anything— not darkness, no, nothing except the angel that towers in front of you.

It's too much.

You shuffle back, back into the darkness. The safe, comforting, suffocating darkness. The real, tangible, and touchable darkness. The hunger, the thirst, the quenching darkness. Banal. Smothering. Contempt.

You close your eyes.

You stand up slowly. From here, far away once again, you can see the vending machine's gentle glow.

It wasn't so bad.

But you can't do that again.

You turn around.

The bus is still here. We're waiting for your decision.

The lights are off and the air conditioning is on, you can feel it through the open door. Breathing.

I can drive if you want me to, we're near the end of the story now.

You think that would be good. To sit down, get some rest.

Yeah, get some rest kid.


You sit down on the chair and it feels like nothing. Not of darkness, of the unflinching, unwavering, and total somethingness of darkness, but of nothing. Sweet, unfulfilling, nothing.


The doors close with a hiss, and the bus begins to move once more. You're not in control anymore, not if you don't want to be, so you just let the rumbling rock you to sleep.

Let your eyes close just a little. Let your muscles relax some —yeah— and maybe a little bit more.

That's right, lay down.


Your nothing-body watches as the bus begins to speed up. It feels the shift back of acceleration, but holds fast in place as to not wake you —ever kind and acclimating. Faster, faster, and faster you go on a road that never ends, dotted by angels; reaching out but never reaching you.

The front wheels lift off of the ground, catching traction in the air, nothing can stop us now.

The bus bobs in the air as it catches the breeze. Your nothing-body tenses at the change, but it's fine, we're here together now.

We'll fly.


Climb now, climb now, tired little moth.
Soar, little moth, as the darkness knows.
Climb, little moth, soar and flee attrition.
Lightning in a bottle won't hurt you no more.

Can you see it?

A pretty sight to be sure.


I hope you enjoyed that, strangers. Thank you for listening, and of course, this has been Midnight Ride Radio. Stay tuned, and our regular programming will be rolling out shortly."

Somewhere, a radio clicks off.

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