Listen to the episode

For the Record, Episode 13: The Nightwalkers

[Tape clicks on]

[contented sigh] Another day, another batch of statements. [paper shuffles] Hmm. Let’s do… this one.

Statement of Ethan Spencer, regarding a late-night encounter in an alley. Original statement given on September 27th, 2019 via writing, recorded on October 8th, 2019. Recording by Marcus Knight, assistant archivist of SPOONY, the Supernatural Preservation Order of New York.

[clears throat] Statement begins:

I promise you I’m not crazy, you have to believe that this happened to me. That’s why I’m turning to you, after all, because I doubt anyone else would listen. I may have been drinking at the time, but I swear it wasn’t so much as to make me hallucinate. My friends can attest to that. They all saw me drinking that night.

We met up for a friend’s birthday party, and we celebrated at a bar; a lovely place named “Little Branch” in West Village. It had been a while since we’d all had time to see each other, being working adults and all, and I wanted to make the most of it. I won’t bore you with what happened at the party, but let me tell you, it was the time of my life. We drank and partied and talked of old times like the night was going to last forever. By the time the party drew to a close, I was heavily tipsy. I didn’t have work the next day, so my only limit for alcohol consumption was what I could afford and what wouldn’t kill me. We had a few designated drivers among us, so I didn’t worry about it. It also meant I hadn’t arrived with my car, and I counted on my friends.

Eventually, probably because of my poor judgement from all the drinking, I ended up drinking to my limits, and near the end I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I must have been in there far too long, because by the time I came out, all my friends, and most importantly, the designated drivers had gone off. I felt betrayed, but I also knew I’d brought it on myself. Well, no matter, I thought at the time. I knew the way home from the bar, it wasn’t too far. My… detox in the bathroom had sobered me up a bit, but I was still pretty light-headed. So I, being not the most rational at that moment, paid my tab and walked home.

It was very early in the morning, I don’t remember the hour. The air was frigid and the city hummed in the background. I didn’t want to make myself appear a vulnerable target to thieves and beggars, so I made sure to stand up straight and walk slowly. It’s the city that never sleeps, and I couldn’t afford to collapse on the street.

At some point I must have gotten turned around, because I found myself a block in the wrong direction. I shook my head to clear it and turned to reroute myself home. And that was when I saw the figure.

It caught my attention from the corner of my eye, and I instinctively looked at it. At first I thought it was just a weird beggar or a druggie, but the movements they were making, such clumsy, jerky motions, seemed… off putting. Whoever or whatever it was took slow steps out of the alleyway towards me, deliberate and persevering. The motions were too sharp, too alien, too… inhuman. I froze. Well, I should have ran there and then, but my curiosity got the better of me, and obviously I wasn’t the most rational at that moment.

So I stood there. I remember myself straightening up and asking “Who’s there?. I got no reply, just more walking and a low, odd hum. The first figure walked into the light of a streetlamp, and I could clearly see it was… human? Sort of, but it was… off. The figure’s face was warped and malformed, like a puzzle with all the pieces put together in the wrong order but still forming a somewhat cohesive picture. The figure was, to my discomfort and confusion, completely naked. How it didn’t seem phased by the cold, I have no idea. Oddly, even by looking at them, I couldn’t tell if they were male or female. It was just that malformed. Their skin was shiny and raw-looking, an odd patchwork of caucasian and red, and the red parts seemed to shift with every move the creature made…

Then it saw me.

It turned in its slow, shuffling way, head jerking around to look at me, and it started moving towards me. I turned, fully intending to get the hell out of there, but behind me there were two more ambling forwards, letting out a low, pained noise that got right into my head. Before I knew it, I was surrounded.

It must have been the adrenaline or the fear, but I got a jolt of momentary clarity which permanently etched the scene into my mind crystal clear.

In that moment of clarity and rationality, I did the only thing I could. Run. I turned away and ran back down the street I came from. Left and right, I saw more and more of these creatures step out from the alleyways and follow me, moving faster now.

At first I missed it, but after an untellable amount of time running I heard the sound of falling and groaning. I allowed myself to slow down, and dared to turn around. The zombies were no longer chasing me; they were instead fallen miserable lumps of flesh on the street. Seems they weren’t fit to keep up. By now the sky was dimly lit as the morning crept in, I could only imagine how many people would see these monsters.

It’s probably weird to admit, but a part of me wanted to walk up and see what happened to those things when they fell, but… I’d seen enough horror movies to know better. Instead, I just turned around and hurried home, not looking back. From there my memory is a bit blurry, but I do remember that when I got home the sun was just starting to rise. I must’ve passed out on the couch because I woke up at around 3 or so in the afternoon feeling exhausted and hung over. Bit by bit I remembered what happened last night, and I was convinced that I’d just imagined the whole thing.

Still, even with my best attempts to convince myself, my curiosity nagged at me. To no surprise, I found nothing. I was about to turn back when I caught the smell of something in the wind. I followed it to a dumpster in an alley. The same alley where I saw the first flesh zombie. It was then that the realization struck me. That smell, which grew more pungent and sharp with every step I took near that dumpster, was the unmistakable iron of blood, laced with the stench of decaying meat.

I didn’t dare open the dumpster to see what was inside. I couldn’t risk being chased by those things again. I simply turned away and walked briskly back home. I tried to distract myself, but all I could do was keep on drawing constant connections between all the things I’d witnessed. I’m not able to look into these things; I’m not a detective or a cop, I’m just an accountant. That’s why I’m coming to you. If anyone would look into it, it’d be you.

Statement ends.

[Heavy sigh, followed by shuffling through papers] The follow up reports to this statement show the bar in question, the “Little Branch”, closes at 2am every day, so it’s safe to assume that was around the time Mr. Spencer left that night. The staff there confirmed him and his party, and that he and his friends did in fact pay the tab. Whether or not his encounter with these mysterious… flesh creatures, is true is something for further speculation. The street and the alley where Mr. Spencer saw the creatures were searched and nothing much was found. The dumpsters there were all empty and with the usual dumpster smell, and the residents of the street said they didn’t hear anything around that time in the early morning.

The report notes the alley where the incident supposedly happened is near a private doctor’s clinic, one Dr. Clay Ambrose. This wouldn’t be a big detail, were it not for the witness statements saying that the lights in their residence were on and a figure was in the window, even when it was way after hours.

[Pause] Then again, they could have just been another onlooker, like they were. Poor guy, I’m glad he’s okay. At least… according to the statement’s end he’s okay. I certainly hope he stays that way. Fleshy monsters? That’s a new one, even by New York standards… hell, even by SPOONY standards. I should probably talk to Juniper about this; I don’t know what she’ll think of it or how much she’d want to look into this statement over the dozens we get, but… never hurts to ask.

Er, end recording.

[tape clicks off]

This episode of For The Record was written and produced by Shalhevet Ebner, directed by Tom Chaney, co-directed by Elena Truman, and edited by Roux Leigh, and starred Daniel Huras as “Marcus Knight”. It used sounds from, under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License. For full accreditation, see the show notes. To be kept up to date on new episodes, submit your statement, or to get involved in production, you can follow us on Twitter @ftrecordpod, on Tumblr at fortherecordpod, or view our website at Stay safe, take care, and keep an eye out.