Between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, Carlos and his family used to live in Austin, Texas. He remembered the motto of the town was, 'Keep Austin Weird!' No matter where he turned, there were art exhibits, amazing graffiti spots, unique dining experiences, and more books than he could shake a stick at. Carlos loved it all and was proud for living in such a 'weird' and unique place.
Then he moved to Night Vale. And his definition of weird changed.
Or maybe his definition of normal changed. He didn't know.
But after living a year in this tiny place, he was slowly coming to accept the town for what it was. He accepted the fact that mushrooms screamed and bled when you cut into them. He accepted the fact that time technically did not exist. He even accepted the fact he has apparently four overdue library books and having no memory of ever going inside the actual library.
But those acceptances were hard fought. That did not mean there wasn't a twinge of fear every time he opened a clock and found nothing inside. It did not mean he wasn't stunned into silence every time a Night Vale citizen exploded next to him, only to crawl out of the ashes a few seconds later, dusting themselves off like nothing happened.
If he was pressed to admit it, Night Vale was scary. And he knew he'd only scratched the surface on how scary.
Around two in the morning, Carlos woke with an incredible thirst. He was surprised by how thirsty he was and clutched at his neck, half expecting to feel his throat to collapse on itself. He was hot, his skin sticky with sweat. At some point in the night he kicked off the covers, and threw his pillow across the room.
Cecil slept comfortably next to him, unaffected by the heat. He was curled up like a child, blankets laying heavily on top. He was too cute.
Quietly, Carlos slid off the bed, grateful for the feel of coolness of the floor against his feet. With a sleepy groan, he shuffled towards the kitchen. He didn't bother to open a cabinet to grab a clean cup. He grabbed an old mug, dumped out the contents of leftover tea, and filled it with water.
He drained the mug quickly, refilled it, and drained that one too just as quick. He filled it once more, taking his time sipping it, finishing only a third of it. Once he was satisfied, he placed the mug aside and began shuffling back to the bedroom thinking of taking a quick pee break before climbing back into bed.
That's when Carlos saw him. A man. Standing in his living room.
It was so dark, Carlos thought what he was seeing was a trick of the eye, but he knew it wasn't. The man standing in his living room had no face.
Carlos cried out, threw himself back against the cabinets in alarm. The faceless man stepped forward, his long thin arms reaching out, fingers wanting to touch.
"Mmmm... Carlos?" Cecil muttered sleepily as he shuffled into the kitchen. "What was that noise?"
"Cecil- Get back!"
Cecil turned his head towards the tall man. His eyes widened.
"Oh my gosh..." he said. "NOT AGAIN!"
With an irritated huff, he walked past Carlos, grabbed the broom leaning against the trash bin, and with it in hand, started whacking the tall man across the head.
"Out!" He yelled, repeatedly whacking the faceless man over and over. "Out, you pest! Out! Out!"
The slender, faceless man was forced out the front door, squealing like a pig. Once he was gone, Cecil closed the door and locked it. He put his hand on his hip, the other still holding the broom, griping. "Ugh, every year."
He walked back to the kitchen and leaned the broom against a wall. He looked at Carlos and pointed to the door. "And that's why we don't leave food out," he said. "Otherwise the slender men get in. They're worse than raccoons, I swear!"
With an irritated yawn, Cecil stalked back to the bedroom, leaving Carlos to gape uselessly.
Nope, Carlos was right the first time around. Night Vale was fucking scary.