I’d found the tapes a few days ago, sitting on the floor of a brine-flooded house. Since then they held less water. I’d rinsed them with water to wash away the salt, and stood them up to dry, like raisins. Didn't know how much difference that'd make, though. The black wheels inside were corroded, eaten away with white. But they had to play.
I needed to know whether to run.
The TV screen lit up with black, the bright black of hot electrodes, except for the cracks on the screen, which glowed with a bleeding white. I could see a grainy shifting, of something. Fuzzy shadows. Hard to tell if it was what was on it or just the water damage.
The sound was crackly. It sounded like splashing. Not surprising.
Suddenly there was a distant clanging sound, sharp like metal. No voices though, just the sound of heavy breathing.
I clicked in the next tape.
It seemed quiet at first, but then I heard more breathing, quieter this time. There was a dripping sound. I heard another breathing sound, a wet breathing sound from another pair of lungs. Lungs that I knew weren’t human.
Bubbling sounds. There was a cold scraping, and then another cold scraping. A voice then, oddly calm. “They’ll hear us, you know.”
A click. And then the click of the tape rolling out.
There was a cold pit of dread in my stomach. I put in the third and final tape.
It was silent.
I picked up my things, and ran.