I've been sitting here thinking. Thinking about what to do next. It's been almost a month now. Almost a month since I came down here, down to California. It's hot and the air is stifling and I've been here for a month. Waiting.
I know what you're thinking. What happened at Katabasis Station? Why was I clued to go there? Alright. I, being a consummate storyteller, shall tell you.
The radio tower loomed above me, steel lattices crisscrossing, going upwards into the sky. There was a short, squat building below the tower, which I knew was where I should be going.
I was sweating like a hog. I can't wait for the Quiet to come, for the sun itself to go dark and cool blackness envelope the earth. It sounds refreshing actually. Cool nothingness.
I entered the building. The floors were dirt and there were thick cables everywhere. No lights, just a suffocating heat in darkness. I heard of voice.
"Hello there. I'm glad you came." It was an old, raspy voice. I looked hard at the darkness and saw an outline of an old man. He was sitting on a chair fiddling with a microphone.
"Are you my contact?" I asked. "You're an agent of the Quiet?"
His laugh was short and harsh. It quickly descended into a coughing fit and I could hear him hacking away into the microphone. "I'm sorry," he said, "my lungs aren't what they used to be. No, my dear, I'm not an agent of what you call the Quiet. I'm afraid it has no agents."
I squinted. I couldn't see him clearly, but I could hear it in his voice: he was smiling. "I'm an agent of the Quiet, a member of the House of Nothing," I said. "There's a hole-"
"-where your heart should be, yes," the man said. "So I've read. The thing is, the Quiet doesn't use agents. It doesn't need agents. It has no, well, agency. I'm afraid you're simply a deluded young woman."
I took out my razor blade and opened it. Somehow, it didn't make me feel any safer. "I know what I am. Why did you bring me here? How did you know I would even receive your message? Is this a test? Who are you?"
"Me?" The old man sighed. "I'm the bearer of bad news. I'm an intermediary. What you might call a middleman. My dispatches go everywhere. And I always know when someone gets them. And no, this isn't a test. This is a wake up call."
I walked forward with my razor outstretched. Then, a red light flickered inside the room and I could see the old man clearly. He was bald and wrinkled beyond belief. He glanced at the red bulb above his head, sighed again, and then pressed a button on the microphone. Strange music filled the room and the man spoke clearly and loudly into the microphone:
"Two. Twenty-one. Twenty. Three. Eight. Five. Eighteen. Two. One. Eleven. Five. Eighteen."
The red bulb went out and the old man stopped talking. I heard him put the microphone down on the table and then he said, "I'm sorry. I brought you here only to tell you the truth. You do not serve the Quiet. I doubt you even know what it truly is. What you do with this information is up to you. I suggest you leave here soon. The other...inhabitants of this station get antsy when guests stay too long."
I put away my razor and turned to walk away. I didn't feel safe here. I didn't feel welcome. The shadows were threatening.
Before I left, the old man said two more things: "Farewell. And good luck."
I walked away. I'm been waiting ever since. Waiting to be told where to go, what to do. Thinking about what he said, whether it was true. Whether it mattered.
Does it? Does anything?