by Brad Foster, Copyright 2016
It came in the mail. Just a plain, glossy white square addressed to you…Or Current Resident.
Tossing it through the half-rolled-down window, it manages to land in the only clear spot on the passenger seat. Then you’re pulling out of the driveway, hoping to make your destination by nightfall for a much-needed vacation.
Hours later, at a stop for gas and refreshments, you try finding a radio station you can stand — in both reception and content. You’re out of luck on both counts.
The glossy white square sits innocuously on the seat.
A silvery disc slides out when you tear open the square. You catch it before it can bounce off into uncharted regions of your car.
The CD bears no markings. Though your player hasn’t worked for many years, you slip the disc into the slot. As expected, nothing happens.
Ten minutes later down the road, the player springs to life. A blast of loud music almost causes you to swerve off the road, earning a cacophony of blaring horns.
You swing the knob until the music should be muted. Should be — but ethereal sounds, transcendental even, float from the speakers.
Not your style of music, but at least it’s not some awful cover band. You even find yourself humming along under your breath. The miles fly along and the highway becomes deserted, except your lone car.
An unearthly, vaguely female chorus joins the incantation.
Glancing over, you notice the track number is still on “Track 1”, and now strange glyphs are scrolling across the luminous display.
The display only lights up when night has fallen.
You slam on the brakes because you’ve looked up and everything is pitch black.
The headlights barely pierce the abject darkness. Snarled dead trees lean towards you from all sides. A well-worn path of dried mud winds through this forest. You look back, but only thick trees, some fallen onto the forest floor, block any exit.
You slowly accelerate as the CD drones on. You smack the Eject button. The player clicks as if choking, then vomits out the disc that…