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Blood Sacrifice

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The house is quiet and empty without the Angels. Josie worries about them and about what comes next, what those yellow helicopters will mean for Night Vale. She misses their radiant presences in her home and the way they always took the trash to the curb on alternating Tuesdays. Josie worries that she didn't take care of the Angels as well as they took care of her. Worry starts to feel a lot like fear.

At least Josie can take some comfort. She knows she is not alone.

They don't communicate much, but Josie knows the signs of The Faceless Old Woman Who Lives In Their Homes. It's the little things, like eggs and spinach going missing from the fridge, the way the kitchen chairs have been so beautifully dismantled, and the way Josie wakes up once in the middle of the night properly dressed and anointed to be a blood sacrifice.

If the Angels had still been around for that particular incident, Josie would have run downstairs to show off The Faceless Old Woman's handiwork. Everyone knows that a woman over one hundred and thirty is past her prime. And yet.

When The Faceless Old Woman's latest campaign speech airs on Cecil's show a few days later, Josie finds herself nodding along with the cadence of The Woman's voice. She thinks that - all private compliments made in the comfort of her own home aside, it really is a sound platform - she just might vote for The Faceless Old Woman if City Council mandates it.

Josie wonders why The Faceless Old Woman only talks for the radio and repeats the question aloud. She's a little disappointed not to get an answer but reminds herself that some people are quite shy.

They fall into a routine and find themselves reading or knitting together most afternoons. Not that Josie is ever sure what The Faceless Old Woman is doing but she likes the company and anyway, knowing there may or may not be a supportive presence in the room helps Josie forget the pain in her raw, bloody fingers while she hurries to meet her quarterly knitting quota. Sometimes, when she picks a project back up and there are a few new stitches in it or several old ones ripped out altogether, she's not even sure if all the bloodstains on the wool are even hers.

The sun rises one evening and Josie wakes up to find her wireless network has been renamed to AmIMovingTooFast.

She smiles and changes the password to n0.