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About a year ago, my wife and I were on a road trip and listened to a bunch of "Dramatic Readings" of various horror stories. Some were novelettes, like "The Dunwich Horror", some were SCP readings, creepypastas, and the like. Just to give you an idea of the type of YouTube presentation.

We were reminiscing about one of them, and we can't seem to find it - Either on YouTube, or in written form. (The readings typically began with author acknowledgements, so it must exist written somewhere.)

The story is as follows:

  • A father has a strained relationship with his daughter. He works too much or something like that.
  • His daughter needs an organ transplant. However, there is no way she's making it on the list and getting her transplant in time.
  • The father begins to receive very specific notes in the mail about his situation, offering him a way out. He avoids them at first, but the offers keep coming and he's starting to become unhinged at the whole situation.
  • Eventually, he's offered a "deal with the devil" where he must kidnap another kid and turn him over to some kind of otherworldly dealmaking organ traffickers.
  • He hits a sacrificial kid with his car, throws him in the back, drives all night until he's lost in fog and finds some kind of hellish dimension.
  • The souls here are shoveling hot coals all day and are missing various organs (eyes, holes in abdomens, arms. . . etc. . )
  • Sacrifice is made, deal is struck, an organ is delivered on ice to the father's house. Daughter is saved. The father feels bad for dooming this random kid he hit with his van to this fate, but gets over it.
  • Plot twist, some time later someone else steals his (saved) kid to make their own deal. He's offered a fresh deal to get her soul back.
  • Additional plot twist, all the letters he's been receiving are unintelligible to anyone but him. Just some scribbles or blank.
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  • This sounds exactly like the novel Spirits of the Dead by Keith Gilman, but that has only just been released so it could not be the story you heard a year ago unless the radio station got an ARC and were reading an excerpt from it. Possibly the novel is based on one of Gilman's short stories and that's what you heard, though I have Gilman's only anthology, Bad Habits, and there is no matching story in that. Oct 3, 2023 at 10:45

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Found it -- This is "Exchange", by N.R. Knight.

The dramatic reading was produced by the YouTube channel "Chilling Tales for Dark Nights".

All of the details match.

Daughter needs new lungs, dad is desperate, messages in the mail, deal with demons, etc. . .

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