By Sean Logan
Read by Alasdair Stuart
Albert climbed onto the shelf in his closet and lifted the hatch to the attic. He scanned his immediate surroundings for terrorists and spiders. Clear. He hoisted himself up and crawled along the stealthway to the lockbox hidden under the insulation in Sector Alpha. He removed a small baggie and a vial of liquid, slid them into a secret pouch in the left arm of his trench coat and returned to his room.
He dumped the contents of the baggie into a silver alchemist’s mixing bowl (they said it was a dog’s water dish at the pawn shop, but that seemed unlikely). He looked closely at the fine flaky powder and thought he could detect movement, which made sense, because at a microscopic level were millions of tiny insects. Itching power, the professional kind, illegal in the United States. Those little bugs crawled under the skin and caused unbearable irritation. And when Lance showed up at dinner tomorrow, itching like a mangy dog, there was no way Sally-Ann’s grandparents would want her living in this vermin-ridden hovel with that disease-carrying hobo.
And just to make sure it was effective, Albert implemented the next phase of his plan.
By Edward Webb
Read by Ben Phillips
“Name’s Claude,” he says. “You’re new.”
I nod again, still looking out into the empty street near the alley. It’s bad enough that I’ve lost everything in my life – my job, my home, my family. But now a chilling realization splashes over me: I am going to be trapped in this alleyway, melting snow soaking into my shoes, listening to a disfigured man with breath as stale as his conversation, forever. This isn’t just another November night. It’s a pit of hell that I’m trapped in, a punishment for my unknown crimes against the universe.
“Sometimes the innocent are put in jail, and the guilty go free.”
Surprised by the comment, I turn back to him. “What?”
Claude’s face twists into a grin, his scar stretched into a new, more hideous shape. “That’s what I like about new guys. They ask questions.”
Music mixed by Navicon Torture Technologies from recordings available from ANNIHILVS:
1. “Instrument Landing System” by Propergol, from the GPWS CD
2. “Rent Boy” by IRM, from the CD, The Cult of the Young Men
3. Gutterballads Vol II, track VI by Wilt, from the Gutterballads Vol II CD-R
By Patrick Samphire
Read by Rich Sigfrit
“Josh.” His voice was hoarse, like he’d been shouting.
“How are you doing, Dad?” I tried to stop my voice shaking. I didn’t want to seem like a kid.
“Been better, been worse.” He worked his lips, as though his mouth was dry. “See, the old devil’s put his hand into my chest, lad. Left a bit of a gift for me.”
He coughed. His thin chest shuddered. He turned and spat into a metal bowl by his bed. The spit was thick and threaded with blood. He gave me a painful grin.
By Nicholas Ozment
Read by Ben Phillips
Joel Coker was doing 72 in a 55, his mind re-playing the shouting match he’d had with his mistress earlier that evening, when the dog ran out in front of his car.
“God Christ Almighty!” His knuckles turned white squeezing the steering wheel; his foot pumped the brake. He’d conditioned himself not to swerve for animals in the road — he knew better than to risk crashing into a ditch to save a raccoon or somebody’s cat.
He was still going 40 when the jarring thump came. The dog stood as tall as they come, and the low front-end of the Civic caught it in the upward arc of its loping run, flipping it up onto the hood. The dog’s body came rolling at him, slamming into the windshield directly in front of his face.