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Welcome back.

Are you feeling comfortable? Good. Right about now, you’re sitting casually in your seat, perhaps in a chair staring at the monitor, perhaps bundled up on the couch, wrapped in your Snuggie, your laptop buzzing on your lap with the warmth of its underside providing a pleasant sensation there. Occasionally the hard drive skitters and skates, trying to access some connection inside of this digital field of play.

And it is a field of play, don’t let it fool you otherwise. Take a good long look at the screen, for instance. Sure, your conscious, active mind sees black letters spelling out the very words you’re reading, but let your eyes haze a moment. Don’t think about meaning so much — just see the black squiggles on the expanse of white, amassed like battalions, one paragraph against another, staring each other down, preparing for the moment to bolt in attack, random “s” characters raising their swords against the myriad numbers of “m,” not to mention the machinations of those vowels, so kind to link consonants into those words that spill into your head as you read them but, as we well know, they are Machiavellian, yes they are. Those “A” “I” and “E” shapes poised to kill their counterparts, running headlong with a blood-curdling scream of  “Aiiiieeeeee!!”

You could almost hear that scream as you read it, that “Aiiieeeee…” couldn’t you? It’s amazing the information the brain fills in with the absence of a direct descriptor to clarify it. Take, oh, I don’t know, that voice in your mind as you’re reading. It sounds like your voice, has all the cadence and nuance of your voice and, even, those words you mispronounce in your regular day-to-day speech are mispronounced by the narrator in your mind, the one you think is you — but it’s not you. These are my thoughts, my words, and in truth, at this very moment, it is me who is in your head right now, telling this tale, pulling these strings. Are you wondering perhaps, how long have I been in here?

You should.

Are you feeling comfortable now? Good. Let’s begin.

Metamorphosis by David Eagleman, read by Jeffrey Tambor (2009)

Harvest Moon, Blue Oyster Cult from Heaven Forbid (1998)

Harvest Festival, XTC from Apple Venus Volume 1 (1999)

The Ethics Of Jokes by Garrison Keillor from Horrors! A Prairie Home Companion(1996)

Earth Died Screaming, Tom Waits from Bone Machine (1992)

Prelude, Bernard Herrmann from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Humanity Part II, Ennio Morricone from The Thing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1982)

Through The Mirror, John Carpenter and Alan Howarth from Prince of Darkness (1987)

Fat Albert, Bill Cosby from The Best of Bill Cosby (1969)

Cold Colours, Neil Gaiman from Warning: Contains Language (1995)

The Hearts Filthy Lesson, David Bowie from Outside (1995)

Vampira, The Devin Townsend Band from Synchestra (2006)

Dark Carnival, Resurrection Band from Lament (1995)

Limbo, Rush from Test for Echo (1996)

The Invisible Man, Marillion from Marbles (2004)

…and we saved the best, scariest and spookiest track for last. It’s buried in the cobwebs, inch-depth dust and dark thickness of a dank, humid night. Beware of clicking on it just in case you’re weak of heart or fearful of mind, for it has the power to instigate nothing less than utter madness.

Happy Halloween!