The Bradshaw Tapes #06: Jason Dante

Transcript of Rec#000438 21/08/15: I’ve been told by Adam that Jason Dante has the most experience dealing with the supernatural of anyone in our group. Still, I’ve been reluctant to go to him because he is a gleefully self-admitted murderer, and also kind of a prick. Dante is aware that I’ve been trying to learn more about the supernatural and is clearly prepared for me when I arrive to find him in the living room. He has taped several sheets of paper to the wall with crude drawings and charts he apparently hopes to explain to me. He encourages me to start recording before I even ask.

DANTE: Alright. I assume you’ve got everything you’re gonna get from the rest of the group, so you’re ready for a real education, huh? Well, where do you wanna start?

OCTOBER: Well… they say you’ve seen pretty much everything.

DANTE: That’s an exaggeration. I’ve got about two decades of history with the weird stuff, but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that there’s always more weird stuff out there ready to come be a problem.

OCTOBER: I see. Well, why not start with whatever you consider the scariest thing you’ve seen in all that time.

DANTE: Right to the worst stuff, gotta like that. Okay. This was during the Secret Factions War. I was on a search and destr–

OCTOBER: Sorry, what war?

(He gestured to one of his drawings, which contained no information I found useful, but otherwise ignored the question.)

DANTE: Search and destroy mission. I was alone in these tunnels underneath Castle Nine. There were a dozen or so of us on the mission, but we’d split into groups of three and my two pals had been taken out just minutes after landing. Grenades or mines, I don’t remember. Explosives. But I still had to get in and take out the skeleton generators, so I was in these tunnels on my own.

There was a trap. The tunnel opened into this room and once I got in the door slammed shut behind me. These slots opened up in the walls and water started pouring in. This was bad enough, I was panicking, looking for a way out, so when a door at the far end started opening, I was relieved at first and tried to wade my way to it. Then I noticed a shape, big and grey and moving toward me. I have exactly enough time to realize it’s a dorsal fin and then I’m underwater.

It’s got my leg and it’s shaking me. I think my head hit the wall at one point. Even with my suit I’m in tremendous pain and dizzy. I must have been clawing at it, but it doesn’t care, it just keeps trying to kill me. Then one of my grenades goes off. To this day I don’t know if I did it on purpose, like I threw it on pure instinct while being thrashed, or if it just fell off and I was saved by a pure fluke. Either way, the boom did enough damage to the damned monster to make it let go of me. It might have been dead for all I know, but I didn’t take any chances, I clawed at that thing until I got fingers into its fucking brain and then clawed for a few minutes more.

I couldn’t walk. I floated on my back, breathing in what air was left at the top of the room. It was certainly the closest I’d come to dying at that point, though I’ve certainly come closer since. I was young. The only reason I didn’t bleed to death is the suit.

Obviously I didn’t get the generators. The other teams managed to pull together some semblance of a victory, though, so eventually they found me there. Got me to a medic.

OCTOBER: Holy fuck.

(Some silence.)

OCTOBER: That’s messed up, I admit. But it’s not really supernatural.

DANTE: How do you mean?

OCTOBER: Well, it just was a shark, right? I thought it was gonna be a monster of some kind. Or maybe you had a near death experience or got saved by a ghost or something.

DANTE: “Just” a shark? That’s mundane to you?

OCTOBER: No, you know what I mean. Sharks are part of the natural world. Things like ghosts aren’t.

DANTE: God, you’re obsessed with ghosts. I’ve seen about a dozen ghosts at this point. I’ve only seen one shark.

OCTOBER: Well let’s shift focus to the ghosts. What are ghosts?

DANTE: In my experience? Jerks.

OCTOBER: But physically what are they?

(Another moment of silence, Dante closed his eyes for a bit.)

DANTE: They’re the spirits of dead people or something like that, aren’t they?

OCTOBER: So you believe in the soul, then? In the persistence of a person’s self after death?

DANTE: Well, I’ve seen ghosts, so if that’s what they are then yes. And if it isn’t that, it’s something like it.

OCTOBER: Hmm. And have you communicated with someone who has passed?

DANTE: I kicked one of them in the neck.

OCTOBER: The ghost had a neck?

DANTE: Not for long.

OCTOBER: But have you spoken to any of them?

DANTE: A couple. The one in my apartment that time. He hated me. The conversations were mostly vitriol now that I think about it. From both directions.

I sent a message to some kind of barbershop quartet ghosts and heard them talking, but I never spoke to them face to face.

OCTOBER: But you’d say they were conscious entities? Not just echoes of their lives or whatever?

DANTE: I don’t know their lives.

OCTOBER: Are you being difficult on purpose?

DANTE: Probably. Making you earn your answers, at least.

But in any case, I don’t know anything about the nature of ghosts. I just know they’ve pissed me off. And I know that if they are the spirits of the dead, they could hardly be called “supernatural” they’d have to be the most natural things around. They’d presumably be as old as humanity minus at least one lifespan.

OCTOBER: I think of it like this. When I call something “paranormal” or “supernatural” I’m not comparing it to what is normal or natural, I’m comparing it to the current dominant view of what is normal or natural.

DANTE: Okay, fine. I figure the life I’ve lived has left me with a skewed perspective of what is normal or natural. But I’m no scientist. I haven’t exactly been taking readings as I go. I’ve spent my life just trying to survive and trying to kill the worst ones.

OCTOBER: And yet you still boldly exclaimed you were going to educate me?

DANTE: (An exasperated sigh.) Okay, I came on strong. It’s a survival mechanism I think. Posturing. You understand. I admit that I have never cared about understanding this stuff the way you do. My priority has been the fight.

But I can tell you what I know and what I’ve been through. It’ll be surface-level by your standards, but if you can accept that, you can sift through and see if there’s anything useful to you.

OCTOBER: Yeah, okay. Let’s go.

(Continued in next transcript)

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