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The Nephilim

“It’s very simple,” the doctor said to the man. “You must go see the famous clown Pagliacci.” And the man began to weep and said: “But doctor…you are a clown. An absolute clown. Do you even have a real medical degree, you clown?” Welcome to Night Vale.

Hurrah, hurrah, the Nephilim approach.

We gather at the edge of town, nudge each other and shield our eyes to see the shapes as they lumber toward us. At last, our siblings from long ago have come to join us once again. Higher than the heavens with feet grounded in the earth, we feel them first in our sleep, a ripple in the dreams. Then in the early morning hours, we notice an off aspect to the light. And finally we see them, beautiful and striding, not a pin to choose between them.

Sylvia Wickersham was the first to spot them, and she came hobbling out of home, crying “my friends, at last, my friends” and unfurling a banner covered in a scrawling language I did not recognize.

Ah, but don’t make a song about it. They do not like to be fawned over, and we shouldn’t like to fawn. It is unflattering to act as though you are unworthy, because it sets up the object of worship for failure and disappointment, and anyway undermines yourself. You too are interesting, you too are worthy, although of course you are not the Nephilim.

And so we give sop to Cerberus, laying out all of our earthly possessions and cooking up all the food in the pantry. Feast, our siblings from time immemorial. Feast until your stomachs loll and your throats close up. Rejoice in the pure volume of consuming.

The Nephilim approach, at last, at last, at last.

And now, a look at the news. Joanna Rey, head keeper at the Night Vale zoo, has announced a new intern program for aspiring zookeepers. Joanna, who is a shapeshifter, has said the program is only open to other shapeshifters, because she feels strongly that this is a necessary skill for anyone who wants to take up the zoo-keeping profession.

The only other shapeshifter in town, college student Josh Crayton, has indicated he’s undecided about joining the intern program. “Yeah, I mean it’s cool that there’s something for people like me,” he said, “but I just don’t have much interest in zookeeping? I’m more of an art history guy at the moment. Do you think the Night Vale Fine Art Museum might start taking shapeshifting interns?” he concluded. Unfortunately for Josh, the Night Vale Fine Art Museum was frozen in time back in 1978, and no one has been able to exit or enter it since. Although anyone can go and stand outside the time bubble, looking at the terrified expressions of those unfortunates caught in that moment of their lives for the rest of eternity. Which honestly is a better piece of art than anything Night Vale could have ever afforded to buy for the museum.

Without shapeshifters, Joanna Rey has agreed to take on local high school junior Valerie McGowen (mick-gaow-ehn). Valerie only possesses the one corporeal form, but she is very enthusiastic about zoo-keeping and would love to learn these skills for a possible career in animal prisons. Joanna has reluctantly allowed this under the condition that Valerie regularly describe shapes she might take if she had the ability to do so.

When your intrepid reporter checked in on the program, Valerie was describing what it might be like if she could turn into a thick slice of buttered toast, while Joanna showed her the proper way to sing to lions.

Honestly, as far as Night Vale municipal programs go, that seems to be turning out fine.

Speaking of which: An update on the Tarantula Literacy Program, a long running education initiative in this town whose tagline  “Teach a spider to read: Stop the madness” can be found on wheatpaste posters plastered over most buildings in Night Vale. The program has announced that all tarantulas are now reading at a grade 40 level, which is the reading level of someone working on their third graduate degree due to not wanting to ever have to make a final decision about the direction of their life. The program has been deemed a complete success and so will be immediately defunded and shut down. The hope is that any new tarantulas can be taught to read by their own tarantula families, and this self-sustaining education will completely transform those gross bugs into gross bugs with a tradition of story-telling and scholarship.

Personally, I have many feelings about this program, but in the interest of maintaining journalistic objectivity, I will only share those feelings through a series of high pitched yelps. [he makes a series of high pitched yelps]. Apologies if anyone is offended due to the raw and real nature of my truth telling.

Aha, aha, the Nephilim loom.

Already we can feel their footsteps in our chests, echoing in the cavity there, filling up that space with their coming presence. Is it love we feel? Or merely the knowledge that another exists? How much of love is just knowing that when you turn you will see someone there? Well, we turn, and far above us, golden eyes look down. Is that a kind of love?

Sylvia Wickersham has been spreading the word that this is her doing, that she made some calls, had some important people notified. But we all know what Mrs. Wickersham is like, don’t we? Perhaps we can humor her, given how dreary it has been up to now.

We came up from a fit of the blue devils. Mondays spent staring at the sky, a feeling that if we only could stand up we could make something of ourselves, but we can not stand up, and so we do not make anything of ourselves. Tuesdays spent in the shower until the water runs cold and then just a bit longer. Wednesdays taking walks, and that makes us feel better, and we decide we will take a walk every day. Thursdays in which we do not take a walk. Of course, we don’t. But then Friday the Nephilim are looming, and we at last, at last feel joy.

Each of us, each offending Adam, we line up on the streets and cheer. Tear up papers and couch cushions and trees to make confetti. Fill the air with garbage turned into celebration and then settling back down onto the ground as garbage.

And over it all the odor of sanctity, because it is holy to see a stranger and say, come in, come in, come in, the Nephilim loom.

And now a word from our sponsors.

There is a hole in the sky, which itself is a hole in our vision, which itself is a hole in our thoughts, which themselves are a hole in our spirits, which themselves are a hole in God, who recently left their job to spend more time with their family. Where were we?

Yes, there’s a hole in the sky. Sometimes we digress, and we forget important news, setting aside vital information for the sake of philosophical thoughts, because what is narrative, if it has no oomph, no heart, no human connection? We could tell you that there’s a hole in the sky, jagged and splintering like a broken window near a golf course, and there are fingers gripping its sharp edges. 7 fingers, if we’re being precise, but this is too much plot. What’s important is the mood, you know.

And the mood Is scared. People are scared, because of the seven fingers and the shattered sky. But they’re scared because they’re ignorant. Everyone with a twitter account thinks they’re an astronomer, don’t they? If they actually studied the movements of the stars and the expansion of the universe they would know those fingers belong to Huntokar. And the hole in the sky? Well, it’s where wind comes from.

Read the article before you retweet it, Brad. Good god.

This message has been brought to you by Kirkland Signature Whiskey Type Beverage.

And now the children’s fun fact science corner.

The woman screamed and began to run. She looked behind her and screamed. She screamed. Because she was looking behind her, she was not looking in front of her.

[Cecil does not realize he is repeating, and reads each one like it was the first time saying it. The music and the sound design should build here, distorting and otherwise transforming his voice and creating a strange soundscape behind it.]

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

She ran into the wall

And she said [digital static buzzing sound, like an insect made of radio waves]

This has been the Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner.

Tralah, tralah, the Nephilim are here.

One real Tom Noddy went running forward to greet them, and splat right off, that was him gone, but we can’t hold that against our tall cousins can we? It’s not their fault. As the fool thinks, so the bell clinks, and a fool’s bolt is soon shot, as we always say here in Night Vale.

In the center of the Nephilim loom the daughters of the horseleech, three necks, two hands, and more teeth than can be counted. Their song is the sound of continental plates colliding. Anyone who tries to hum along immediately immolates.

Sylvia Wickersham, upon seeing the daughters of the horseleech cried “not you, I didn’t mean you,” and tried to hide all the pies she had baked, but it was too late, and thousands of tongues sped hungrily for them, slurping up pastry and plinth alike.

Do not worry about our ruckus visitors. Soon our days will return to apple pie order. The lights upon City Hall will flick on one two three, in perfect sequence, and our radio mast will go on hurling my voice into the ether, just as it always has. The Nephilim are a temporary disturbance to the ongoing order, and soon equilibrium will reign.

So let’s enjoy this blip in our endless days. Let’s fling wide our arms and shout greetings to the Nephilim. We thought them lost so long ago but now they’re in our midst.

The Nephilim are here, just now, just now, just now.

A reminder about Daylight Savings Time, which happens a little later this month. I know that most of us in Night Vale are fairly confused about how all this works because time did not function normally in Night Vale and so we never had to worry about it. But then there was that whole deal with Lee Marvin’s 31st birthday last year, and well, all to say that now time works normally and, as a result, we have to mess around with the flow of time twice a year. See, it’s simple and easy to understand.

Ok, so the mnemonic to remember is: Spring forward and fall forward. So this one’s in spring, which means we move the clock forward. Then the next change will be in the fall, so we’ll move the clocks forward. We keep doing this twice a year until time has flipped on itself and we rise with the sunset, and sleep with the sunrise, and our working days take place under the cold and glittering stars.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the first step. On March 14th, at 2am exactly, reach out your sleepy hand, and like a capricious god, alter time.

This has been a reminder about Daylight Savings.

And now for some bird watching tips.

Birds are mostly in trees, although sometimes they are in the sky or on the ground or in the water. Which is the bird? Why, my friend, it is the beaky one. If you see another flying, that is probably merely the bat, and we spit on the bat. The bat is nothing to us. Curse to the bat.

What to do when you see a bird? Simply see it. Spot it with your eyes and lay your gaze upon it. Nothing more is required nor possible. You may wish for more, but unfortunately this is the sport of seeing and there’s nothing more to it.

And what is the point? That is the great question. For there are no prizes in this game of bird. You can ask. You can beg. You can howl that this isn’t fair, you’ve seen a bird, you’re pretty sure it was a bird anyway, it might have been a cat, but it was in a tree and you would like your prize. But no one will give it to you. In fact, there will be no one to direct that tirade at, as there are no judges, no gods, and no masters in the game of bird.

Good luck, and see those birds.

Oh no, oh no, the Nephilim are causing a bit of a ruckus. It seems that they have us on the hip, and there is not much we can do about it. Entire neighborhoods are being crushed, but let’s be honest, we’ve gotten pretty good at rebuilding when necessary. Just a cost of living in such a beautiful and dangerous place.

Sylvia Wickersham is sobbing, saying “this is all my fault” which is in its own way a brag. She does so love to brag.

Still, we have brought our hogs to a fine market and now we have no choice but to sell them. And so, while we deal with the consequences of our present moment, I take you, to the weather.

WEATHER: “Witchcraft” by Graveyard Club http://graveyardclub.com

Huzzah, huzzah, the Nephilim depart.

We watch them off to the horizon, saying nothing, letting the movement of our bodies communicate all that we can communicate. After all, speech was given to humans to disguise our thoughts.

But get on, gardener! Time to return to temporal things, the mundane stuff of our everyday life. Bread, and car tires, and potting soil. Our heads can only remain in the stars for so long.

Sylvia Wickersham has taken ill, refusing to leave her bed and loudly declaring that maybe this time she will die. But I believe she is shamming Abraham and there is nothing wrong with her that some sunlight and forgetting wouldn’t fix. After all, it can be hard when company leaves, but we must learn once again to be on our own.

It’s a hole and corner business this life, always another way to trip ourselves up, to make the wrong move. Maybe that’s why we need the Nephilim. They do no wrong. Because they hardly do at all. They merely exist and nothing more.

They live from the teeth outwards. And we live with ten toes in the grass. That’s the difference, among many, I suppose.

So goodbye to our faithful cousins, and goodbye to the daughters of the horseleech. It was wonderful to have you here, but many more moments can be wonderful, if we let them.

Stay tuned next for a mason jar dropped on a kitchen floor, a glass cough and a scattering.

Good night, Night Vale. Good night.

Today’s proverb: I couldn't care less what gender a baby eventually turns out to be, but it is very important to me that it ends up goth.

It Sticks With You
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The Fog