I sat still and idle, chewing a plastic pen whilst staring at an open text book that lay on the desk before me. My eyes scanned the words that ran across its pages, however my brain wasn’t taking any of it in, despite my best efforts. The harder I tried to continue reading the page, the more unknown the letters became to me. They began to twist and turn, the black ink letters slowly became more strange and alien. It felt as if I was hopefully trying to translate some ancient scripture written in a long lost language.
I sighed heavily as I sank back into the depths of my chair, and rubbed my heavy eyes. I stretched out a hand to reach for a cup of still cold coffee that sat upon my desk. After gulping down the cold milky liquid I turned my attention back to the text book to see that the English words had returned. I shook my head and slowly brought it’s covers to a close. Tiredness was getting the better of me and the hour was growing late.
The endless city lights that sat outside my window drew my aimless stare. There was something mesmerising about it, dazzling whites and oranges bled into the nights sky from the cities countless buildings, which stretched out toward the ever reaching horizon. I suppose it reminded me of the nights sky I saw back in the countryside, filled with wondrous star light, however none of the heaven’s silver rays shone here. The light pollution from the city blocked out the beautiful white diamonds above. I sat still for a while, remaining fixated on the city lights beyond my window.
My personal phone suddenly rang out and i I was brought out of my numbing trance into a a sudden wild panic. I frantically patted myself down in a crazed flurry to find my phone, before whipping out the small device from my jacket pocket. Taking a second to read the caller I.D.
Edison Elionard, or as he was more commonly called by his peers, Eddy. A fellow student and a good friend. We had first met when we enrolled for the academy of sciences a couple of years ago and have remained friends ever since.
“Good evening Eddy. What can I do for you?” I said as I answered the phone, leaning back once more in my chair.
“Dustin I need you come round right away. I’ve made an amazing discovery. Meet me ASAP.” With that, Eddy ended the call and I was left with a silent phone to my ear.
I slid the phone back into my pocket. “God dammit Eddy.” I whispered to myself as looked at my wrist watch glumly. “1 am…”. I stood up and swiped my keys off of the desk top before making a swift exit from my one bedroom apartment.
Excitement still gripped me, as I was keen to see what Eddy’s new discovery was, despite the annoyance of being demanded of at such a late hour. There was no doubt about the fact that Ed was indeed a genius and every time he called me, it meant his seemingly boundless intelligence had lead him to a new and exciting conclusion.
In a brisk manner I trotted down the flight of stairs that lay within the centre of my apartment building, narrowly avoiding a collision with someone as I turned a tight corner. It wasn’t long until I had raced out of the complex’s doors, and into the cold city streets once again, the pavement of which were illuminated brightly by LED lamp posts. I stared up at one of them and shielded my eyes as the harsh light stabbed at my iris’s, then continued to follow the winding pavement to Eddy’s own apartment block.
Eddy’s apartment complex stood proud, yet ugly during the daylight hours. As the sunlight highlighted flaking paint, crumbling brick work and walls smothered in graffiti. However, under the veil of darkness, the stormy grey building blended into the black, starless night.
I walked up to the entrance of the block and pressed a small button that sat next to a scruffy label, on which, scrawled in scratchy bio, read apartment 64 – Elionard. After a brief moment Eddy’s distorted voice crackled through a small speaker, situated within the brickwork. “Letting you in now Dustin.”
A loud click could be heard as the lock on the entrance opened, after which I pushed the large door and made my way into the complex. Eddy’s apartment block was very similar to the one in which I resided. The entire layout was flooded with a harsh, artificial light. A multitude of fittings were fastened onto the walls and ceiling, remaining on through all hours of the day. Often a person would find themselves confused as to the time of day! Us students especially, more so when drink has been involved.
A worn, frame stairway spiraled upwards through the centre of the block. As to give access to the multiple layers of the building, on which you would find the different apartments.
I made my way up onto the first floor where Eddy’s flat was situated and I knocked firmly on the door, staring at the one silver 6 that remained of his flat number. Slowly the door creaked open slightly and a chain on the other side was pulled tight. Two wide eyes peeped round and stared at me.
“Eddy, it’s me. Dustin.” I assured him calmly.
In a flash, Eddy unlocked the door and hastily ushered me inside. I was surprised to find myself in almost complete darkness, the only light provided was that of a few flickering candles littered about the small apartment. “Bloody hell Eddy, it’s bit dark isn’t it?” I said to him, as I instinctively flung my arms outward to flick the light switch.
“No don’t!” Eddy cried out as he clawed for my arm, pulling it downwards firmly.
I stared at him, bemused…
“Trust me. It’s to do with what I have to show you…” He continued, a semi nervous tone rang through his words. At the time I dismissed it as nothing.
“Let’s see it then.” I said to him. Eddy turned and I followed him as he led me down the short narrow corridor then left into his living room. The room was completely blacked out also, except for the faint flicker of candlelight. He ushered me to come and sit down beside him on his battered, second hand sofa.
Across from me, standing on a coffee table, stood a simple desk lamp. My eyebrow instinctively raised, as I noticed several coloured cables ran out from the lamp and winding their way into a laptop which rested on the sofa, behind which sat Eddy. He began to tap at the madly at the keys, and adjusted the neck of the lamp slightly, so that it’s lightless bulb was direct at me. I sat patiently quiet, still slightly confused as to what Eddy was going to show me.
Suddenly I squinted as a light violently pierced my unsuspecting eyes. Then, after several seconds the light went out again, leaving several faint splodges of colour in my field of vision.
I scratched my forehead “So what is it that you’ve discovered again?”
“Tell me the first thing that you think of. Now!”
“Now! Off the top of your head.”
I paused for a moment then out of know where I replied “Battered Mars bars and cabbage!”
We were silent for a moment, before I chuckled to myself. “Don’t ask me where that came from.”
Eddy grinned with delight, before saying “That was my discovery Dustin.”
“Battered Mars bars and cabbage is your discovery?”I replied hastily in bemusement.
“Oh no it’s much more than that, look.” Eddy said, as he flipped round his laptop to face me.
I leaned over and took hold of the small computer to place on my lap. The screen showed complex coding and a variety of different wave forms. I took a moment to scan and evaluate the mess of data. “Well this looks like some form of modulation software to me.” I said to him, my eyes glued to the computer screen.
“Exactly right!” He snapped in excitment, clicking his fingers as he did so. “I’ve modulated light waves ! Actual physical light waves in order to communicate data. Similarly to how we modulate other waves on the electro-magnetic spectrum for communication. Take radio waves for example, we modulate them in order to send information to different places across the world.”
“So what you’re saying is, you modulated the light waves coming from the lamp to feed information to me that told me to think of Mars bars and cabbage…”
“Yes! And I know that may seem trivial. But I’ve conducted this experiment many times on unknowing subjects before showing you, and every time without fail. They act out or are inherently influenced by whatever the modulated light waves communicated to them.”
I sat there, stunned into silence. However one question itched in my brain, I turned back to him and said “But how do you go about decoding the modulated waves once they reach the person. I mean, you can’t just blasted radio waves at a radio without it having some means of decoding the information being fed to it. There must be some form of decoder already present within the body.”
A silence settled heavily in the room, and Eddy’s boyish grin slowly subsided. “You are correct.” He replied, a slight change in tone could be heard in his voice “A decoder would need to be installed in someone in order for this to work.”
“Well I’ve never had one installed.” I protested to him.
“That’s the worrying thing. Neither have I. Yet…. It still works.”
A slight chill ran down my spine, “What… what are you trying to say…?”
“That we have already had them installed Dustin.” Eddy said cooly. “Without our knowledge or consent.”
My eyes widened as the realisation dawned upon me. “This technology is already in use…”
Eddy nodded silently.
“But how could this go unnoticed? Surely people would have remembered if they had such devices put into their bodies?”
“How many jabs have you had over the years Dustin.” Eddy replied “How many school dinners have you eaten? Have you ever been put under for surgery? I mean you’ve had your appendix taken out! There could have been any amount of possible moments that someone could have done it.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and stammered back in disbelief, “But no one has that kind of technology!”
Instantly Eddy countered my comment “You would have said the same about all this if I hadn’t have showed you! The people who have been using this tech obviously have an understanding of knowledge we don’t. Whose to say that they’re not using something like nano-bots to install these modulation decoders within people?”
I fell back into busted springs of the sofa and brought both hands to my head. A sickness of paranoia curdled within me as I tried my best to process the idea. “But this level of mind control it… It shouldn’t be possible!” I continued in dismay, “You can’t just hijack a human brain in such a manner! Sure you can send the information, we do it all the time when we talk but, it doesn’t mean someone will act upon the data fed to them!”
Instantly Eddy waved his arms at me as he replied, “But Dustin! Don’t you see that it isn’t forcing the brain to do anything… It’s more like, the brain is getting subtle suggestions and ideas. Which then manifest into more complex thoughts. Thoughts that you honestly believe to be your own, and yours alone.”
I ran my hands through my scruffy, matted hair and stared into the darkness of Eddy’s flat. My mind ached with troubling thoughts. But were they my thoughts? Or were they placed there by Eddy, or by someone else? Eddy’s words brought me back out of my crippling paranoia.
“Who ever has been doing this, Whether it be the government or some other shady third party has had an immeasurable amount of control. Imagine… You could rig elections with this technology, You could start wars, cause riots, control the market, make people apathetic.. You could mould the nation to be whatever you wanted and the whole time we wouldn’t even know that our strings were pulled.” Eddy’s words trailed off into an eerie silence. “That’s why I called you here so late… This is too big for me to handle alone.”
I got up onto my feet and began to pace the room. “This is scary stuff Ed.” I said to him as I approached the apartment window. I pulled back the curtain delicately with one finger and peaked out at the view with one wide eye. The blinding artificial lights of the city hammered into the back of my skull and I stumbled backward, each throb of pain made me think of all the potential messages potentially being beamed straight into my unknowing mind.
“Well what’s the plan then? What do we do?” Eddy asked as he watched me clamber up from the dusty carpet floor.
I turned back to face him once again. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning Ed. I’ll get some of my equipment and my Computer, and we’ll carry out further tests. Then when have enough irrefutable proof. We issue a statement to our professors at the academy… or something, to get the word out…”
Eddy merely nodded in reply as, I picked up my long trench coat off of the sofa before swiftly exiting the dingy apartment.
As soon as I did, the lights that lit up the centre of the large building complex felt as if they were burning deeply into my eyes. The pain was most likely due to sudden shift in light levels, however I couldn’t help but associate the searing pain that singed my eyes with Eddy’s discovery. Picturing all of the unwanted messages being delivered through my eyes and into my brain, like spam into an email box. I shut my eyes in recoil, rubbing them in agitation for a moment before the fear gripped me complete and I ran..
I flew down the flights of stairs as fast as I could, tripping down a few of them as I frantically raced for the door. Doing my best to keep my eyes shielded from the yellow artificial glow that surrounded me. As I reached the door, I flung it open and gently came to a halt outside, breathing in the cool night time air.
I looked up, to my dismay to find myself stood underneath one of the many LED street lights that littered the city streets. All around me shone the dazzling multi-coloured lights of the city, that usually I ignored. But now I couldn’t ignore them, not now. Not now I knew that at that very moment, I could be being force fed information. Information I did not want… Commands I did not what.
I continued my frantic run once more, racing my way down the wet pavements, still keeping an arm over my brow. My frantic dash didn’t stop until I reached my own apartment within the deep city.
I stumbled my way through the darkest to find the safety of my bed. Despite my tiredness I found it hard to sleep. I felt like I had laid in bed for hours, before sleep finally relieved me of worry.
When I awoke the next morning, I was thankful to see sunlight bleeding through the gaps in my curtains. How grateful I was to see source of light that no person could have possibly tampered with. I flung the curtains open. and was drenched in golden rays. I proceeded to gathering my belongings in a hurry, packing all the equipment and tools I needed into a small bag, then headed out once again, making my way back over to Eddy’s apartment.
His grey apartment building looked bleak and depressing as the morning sun washed it in a faint hazy light. However, I was distracted from the ugly eye sore by a series of flashing sirens that had culminated at the base of the complex. My heart dropped as I made my way over and found that the city police had secured a perimeter around apartment block. Chaos ensured behind the bright yellow police tape, as police personnel and the medical services rushed about frantically. Some limbered bloodied civilians heavily over their shoulders.
I made my way over to a police officer, who stood at the edge of the barrier, cool, calm and collected.
“What’s happened!? What’s going on!?” I yelled in dismay, looking past her at the swarm of police and medical vehicles. Amidst the chaos I could see people on stretchers being brought out from the building.
“I’m sorry sir.” The woman replied coldly. “I’m going to half to ask you to step back and let us do our job.”
“Please! I know someone who lives in this building! What’s happened!” I begged in desperation.
The woman’s stern face melted into a somber expression, and looked over her shoulder quickly before replying, “A lone shooter opened fire at people within the complex earlier this morning.”
I could have sworn that at that moment, my heart ceased to continue beating. A coldness grew within me and a tightness constricted across my chest.
“If you give me the name of your friend or relative, I can give you information on their condition and where a bouts.” She continued, pulling out a small note pad from her vest.
I looked up from my aimless stare and stammered”Edison Elionard!”
As soon as his name left my lips, she stopped searching and placed the small pad back into her vest. I looked at her, full of sorrow and confusion.
“What? What is it?!” I said, my lip quivered, expecting the worst.
“Edison Elionard…” She replied coldly. “Was the lone shooter, and was shot dead by the police this morning. You’re going to have to come with me.”
The world phased out n an instant. My senses became blurred as the blackness that hollowed out inside, swallowed me whole. All sounds around me seemed to fused into a undefinable hazy ambience.
The officer proceeded to firmly take hold of my arm and escorted me to another group of police who took me in for questioning. He was dead. My friend, was suddenly just… gone.
The interview with the police was lengthy. I answered all their questions and told them everything I knew about Edison. Well, nearly everything. The laws final verdict was that Edison was nothing more than an anomaly. A glitch in the social system, for they could find no reasoning as to why he carried out the massacre. But I knew, and you know.
When I returned home, I sat I listened to the radio in silence as the news rang out from it speakers.
“What is it about troubled teenagers that drive them to kill? Edison Elionard was a bright young man with a promising future, and yet, for some inexplicable reason, he couldn’t adjust to the society we all know and love. It seems some complexities of the human mind, shall always remain a mystery.”
The words faded out as I stared at a candle light that flickered on the desk in front of me. All my curtains were shut tight. Concealing the brain washing city behind them.
I know why Eddy did what he did and now you know as well. His discovery, the light, the messages. I couldn’t tell the police, or the authorities. For if I did, I’m sure people behind this terror would come for me too, if they aren’t all ready. This is why I’ve sent this to you this with urgency. Help me. Help us. Help Eddy.
Close your curtains and don’t stare into the light.
You’ve been warned.
P.s I suppose that’s why we’re are scared of the dark sometimes, because it’s the only time we get to think for ourselves.