…I really have trouble with that word ‘forgotten’, don’t I? Thaaaaaaaaaaaaat’s where it’s the most obvious.
Now then, when someone provided me with a link to this story, it was actually on a Reddit thread known as ‘NoSleep’. Here, lemme quote said thread’s underlying philosophy for your convenience:
NoSleep is a place for authors to share their original horror stories.
Suspension of disbelief is key here. Everything is true here, even if it’s not. Don’t be the jerk in the movie theater hee-hawing because monkeys don’t fly.
‘Autopilot’ was posted on NoSleep AND on the Creepypasta Wikia in March 2013, and so it’s hard to say where it was posted first. In any case, it’s a scary story. Very scary indeed.
Another of the thread’s stipulations is that the horror stories must be believable within reason. And, unfortunately, there have been cases of children being left in cars and dying from the sweltering heat. If it can happen to a dog, it can happen to small kids. Naturally, I won’t make a joke about this, but it did make me wonder: just how was I supposed to read this story aloud?
It was a bit of a strange one. As the reader digests sentence after sentence of the narrator lamenting his forgotten phone, said reader might wonder what the hell is up. “So you forgot your phone! We get it! Change the bloody channel!” I wanted to get across how dreadful the narrator must be feeling, taking into account what happened to his daughter. This turned out to be tricky, because no matter how much emotion I wring out of it, I’m still speaking about a forgotten phone. The irony doesn’t ring out clearly until the final quarter, and so I hope my listeners aren’t confused.
I also considered reading the entire text in a fairly neutral tone, as though the narrator was so shocked and numb that he had yet to process what horrible thing had happened. But if I did THAT, I ran the risk of making the death of a child seem inconsequential. “Whoops, forgot my phone. Whoops, forgot Emily in the backseat for nine hours on a tarmac-meltingly hot day”. I was already basing my American accent on that of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho; I didn’t want to sound any more like a psychopath, thanks.
Finally, I’d like to briefly comment that I went with an American accent (“another day, another dollar“) but maybe that was a mistake (“The direct beams of heat threatened to crack the pavement“). …My bad!