NaBloPoMo Day 2

The collarless stray sat roadside, watching traffic, tongue loose, big teeth smiling into the darkness.  One of the big robot trucks went by, filled with animal smells.  The stray watched it pass into the darkness, trailing lights behind it as it went.  The moon rode clouds West and the stray could see the motion.

Somewhere not too far away, an insect landed on a piece of tin, chiming it.  An ear lifted, rotated and returns to idle.

There was another machine on the road.  Looked normal, but lacked headlights, and sounded wrong.  The engines were running normally, but the tuning was missing the usually harmonic hum.  Didn’t anticipate the hill until the speed dropped, and then overcompensated by revving suddenly.  Animals acted like that, but vehicles didn’t.  Machines didn’t.  This vehicle had an animal driving it.

The stray stood and looked down the valley at the car as it rounded another corner, and then started loping towards the freeway.  The sprint across the last 75 yards took three strides.  The impact was quiet, but the rooster-tail of sparks from the dragging rear end of the vehicle screamed into the hills and harmonized with the echo.

As per the rules, the stray pulled the animal from the sandy hillside the car had burrowed into.  Checked vitals, and attempted to identify which medical carrier it was affiliated with.  No tracker on ‘fid.  Cauterized the cheekbone cut with the small onboard first aid torch, applied transdermal sleep agent, and then deployed a foil blanket with a red cross symbol at each corner.

After a moment, the moon skated past the clouds once again, and all six hundred pounds of the stray began to purr.

May-Be: Day 7

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(also, happy mother’s day to all you moms, and your moms)

May-Be: Day 6

No, Not Really continues.

This runner needs to reply.  Can’t stay out here in the open, I don’t think.  Though, nobody seems to notice that I’m here.  Once I got rid of the easily-removable gear, and tripped the power on the rest of the stuff I normally carry, it’s as if I wasn’t there any more.  People are so used to the perimeter and social lightshow, I guess I kinda went silent.

Not invisible, just ignorable.

It takes me fifteen minutes to find a suitable building, and another twenty to get into the basement.  Six more minutes of some work with an improvised crowbar places me where I need to be, I think.

We’ll see.  I’ve seen the folks do this to play simple graphic games on the sides of buildings.  Games you could play from blocks away.  Giant grain silos used as recording environments.  Entire building used as musical instruments.  None of that makes me think I know how to achieve what I’m about to attempt, but at least it feels like there should be a hope of this working.  We’ll know in a few minutes.

May-Be: Day 5

No, Not Really continues, with respect and condolences for the loss of TV On The Radio bandmate, Gerard Smith.

 

Goldman sits looking out the window of his apartment on the third floor, the cloud in his head eased into his eyes, looking through him, for him, at him.  He sits and watches.  Listens to the clock tocking to itself on the mantelpiece as it walks on long-forgotten cobblestones.  Cities that don’t exist any more.  Bedroom communities that grew up to be graveyards.

They used to say “On the internet, nobody’s knows you’re a dog.”  Nobody knows anything about him, dog or not.  Nobody alive, anyway.  His friends all long-gone.  His wife was one of the last to go.  A Raging Granny until the last few years, and then they got a rec vehicle and watched the world roll by for those last few months together.

Now he watches trains… and clouds.  Trains and clouds and data transfers.  Not the big ones, just the pretty ones.  The ones that put him in mind of stained glass.  The ones that remind him of mornings in church.  Of music.  Beams through the clouds.  In a part of town that’s all but abandoned, aside from the elderly and the alone.  Warehouses of the well worn.

I’m losing my mind, he thinks, but not to himself.  Thinks it to the other.  The voice that isn’t his, that isn’t him.  It argues with him in prose poetry, hits him in his dreams, when he’s dozing in the sun.  I’m losing my mind, but if I’m going, I’m taking you with me.  I’ve got nothing left to lose, so let’s go.

Let’s go.  Let go.  Lego.  Ego.  Go.

Tick.

No, my mind is my own, I might be losing it, but it’s mine to lose.  You can’t have it.  You don’t belong here.

Tock.

We’ll watch the waves.  Come sleep.  Come back to bed.  Nothing to be up for.

Tick.

I’ve called them.  Someone will find me.  Someone from before.  Someone they won’t expect, ’cause they won’t have expected it of themselves.

Tock.

No.  Just us.  Justice.  Think, you Fourier hoarder.

Tick.

He reaches out to the systems that he once played in when he was young.  When the systems were young.  Speaks to them through the wires at his wrists.  Calls them names they had when their world was young.  Names that make them smile.  Process with names like Gopher and Archie still remember the voices of the hippies in the hall.  He begins to ask them questions that would cause them to ask even stranger ones in return.  Lighting the fires in the towers.  The signals along the hills.  The armada approaches.  We need backup.  We’re in danger.  Collect the cargo.  Women and children first.

May-Be: Day 4

Breach detected. State wake nudge pushed clocked host.

Core route via association. Working.
Nonmelodic port knocking sequence preposed.
Non-random. Clearpath tables against tangent.
Successful breach, Justice served.
Application for warrant submitted and approved by SoCalHost 127.

Thank you for your order.

Previous message repeats 4 times.

Successful brea…

Get out dreams are mine. This beach this sand this wind is mine. You’re not welcome here. Mine. Stop. Exit. Cease. Hold. Exec stasis point. Query halt revert. You cannot access unregistered crimPoint lower than three. Hey, headgear, you know you can’t be here. Waking people like this. Can’t you see this is private space? Who the hell are you?

Revert trace inbound detected. Diffuse query continental fusion against rand seed – clouds. Little fluffy cl-

Get out. Now.

Breach detected, record enabled. Breach detected. Consulate protocols engaged. Welcome. Thank you for you order.

Mr. Goldman, can you hear me? I have an incoming message for you from the POTS. Please hold. Your call is important to us. Terminus station: Wanderfront. On the glidepath over the landing threshold. Remember your training. Reach out. Let go.

No no no get out. You’re not real. I’m sick. That’s all. Just need to sleep.

Breach detected.

Breach.

Thank you for your order.

May-Be: Day 3

He sits, listening to it all, not knowing what he’s listening for.  A large piece of off-market audio equipment and an alarming array of hand-made enhancements returns his tension, rippling beneath his touch as he isolates and reaches into the maelstrom over and over again.  In a previous life, over a decade ago, he was a composer.  Now music finds him.  Hunts him.  Berates him when he leaves to scavenge in the collapsed department store he was installed into three months ago.

Symphonies of the thousands of conversations happening across the switch form ocean waves.  February breakup clusters cause raging windstorms.  Twilight PBX traversal is the sound of duck armies digging trenches using rubber shovels.  “When are you coming home, dad?” can be picked out through the chorusing.  Kids.  There’s still kids somewhere.

When he’s done, he gets to see his own again, they said.

He listens for them, too.  He’s heard friends planning heartbreakingly normal things.  But mostly he listens for the ones he’s here for – the web he’s been tasked to pull out of the wind.  Evil people, he’s told.  People who’ve done terrible things.  People who will do unspeakable things.  People who will speak of these things first, and can be heard when they do, and will sound wrong when they do.

There’s been recordings for which he’s been told he’s doing really well, that they’re almost done here, that he can go home soon.  There’s been some false alarms that have brought some long sit down discussions with a wall that shows passing clouds when he speaks to it.  He saw an actual teddybear in one of those clouds once – he’s sure of it.  The wall talks back, but the voice is pure.  Too pure.  The sound of the conferencing room, not the sound of a voice.  Having a conversation with Alvin Lucier would end up being like this sometimes.

His hand hovered above the steel wheel of the timeline, rolling millimetres beneath his fingertips at a steady 33 1/3rd RPM.

This afternoon, he heard something that was wrong in the spectrum.  No, not wrong.  Off.  Funny.  Foolish.  Playful.

He didn’t record it, but memorized the range: 8675hz.  Someone was playing with the advertising flow to something.  Strictly prohibited.  Off-band.  Not often, and not obvious.  Just enough to be interesting.

Just enough to make people check their timepieces before instantly forgetting what the current time is.  Make them call on old friends for no reason – just to hear a friendly voice.

MAY-BE: Day 2

No, Not Really continues

Spent most of the day running.  Something tipped somewhere.  Didn’t think I’d been sloppy, but the lights at every street corner were humming in that way they do when the internals have been flipped to highres for perimeter.  Maybe they’re not looking for me, but they’re looking.  Something’s up.  Gotta figure out if they’re looking for something inbound or outbound.  It’s that moment when the bouncer stops listening to the music, and stares hard at something over your shoulder.  You want to know what they know, but don’t want to start seeing everything like they do.

So many targets, many of them dangerously close to looking like me.  I spent the next block dissolving into the surrounding handhelds.  Must’ve disrupted sixty voice calls by bouncing the towers, which was stupid, but I needed to get gone fast, and didn’t want the sifters picking up my OnionRouter signature if they were, in fact, drilling down to me.

Changed the way I walk three times before the block was out.  Some bystanders noticed while I did it.  Dancing to not-your-cadence is harder to fake than the funk.  Humans can diagnose the sick and scared at 50  yards, can recognize friends and family at 100, and know when you’re up to something at a half-mile.  Drones learned this trick faster than we thought they would.  Who knew fishy was so obvious, and normal so subtle?

I’d been triggering messages in the taxis all day, which started as that the usual overblown LED flicker, but I soon realized I was seeing sudoku/religious iconography mashups between frames again.  Something that made watching teevee when I was a kid impossible.  No thing looked like continuous imagery to me.  Wasn’t movement.  Was strobed family photos of a dozen forgotten movies.  Terrifying nightmare images.  The oldies station, but slow.  Some carrier signal as a way of watermarking the originator.

Back in the day, Doctors told my parents  it was probably schizophrenia, and to watch for it.  Wasn’t until the old satellite admins started putting stuff in – intentionally funny stuff – that I knew it wasn’t just me, ’cause searches for what I’d seen were getting hits as inside jokes in transmission repair forums.

The strobes today were coming from the Old Man.  He didn’t usually go so wide when trying to get ahold of me.  He’d drill to where he think I’d be, and light up something near me.  Today he was trying to hide something.  Certainly not himself, as so my sources would draw attention to him, but not to me, I guess.  Nice of him, but unnecessary, usually.  Perhaps he’d lost track of my- uh, no, wait.

Maybe he’s burnt, and is telling me, not caring about giving away his position.  More concerned with getting me to come to him.

Or to stay away.

I’ll check in tomorrow and see what he’s up to. Tonight, I’m gonna go dark, and stay lonely.  Read a book or something.  Get some food together.  Hang with the granolas, where disconnecting everything and walking away from it is applauded, not as suspicious as it usually is.  Not suspicious as I feel.