The Roar

//all_I_see_is_static

photography+by+Travis+Stanley
Back to Article
Back to Article

//all_I_see_is_static

photography by Travis Stanley

photography by Travis Stanley

Travis Stanley

photography by Travis Stanley

Travis Stanley

Travis Stanley

photography by Travis Stanley

Ike Davis

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






 

// 01/18/2067
//begin_detective_leon_case_report_alexsmith648

Another call, another Snatching.
There’s not so much we can do about those.
It was a warm, breezy January day.
The air had a smothering thickness to it, contrary to the clear, brisk air Alaska had once had.
/Before the Pacific Wars./
/Before Alaska had become a satellite state of Japan./
/Before the smog storms./
/Before Them./
Alex Smith, a young Japanese-Alaskan boy, had gone out that morning to the park. His mother gave him a bag and told him she would be at home if he needed her.
Alex arrived at the park at 11 am.
Ground traffic was rare these days.
Most people stayed indoors.
/It was unnerving to know They were always watching./
According to a neighbor, Alex was still on the swing sets at 11:30.
This was his last known sighting.
At noon, his mother stopped by the park.
She did not find her son.
The swing was still gently moving, swaying back and forth.
The sand underneath it had turned to glass.
Alex Smith, age 9, had been Snatched.
His mother phoned the authorities.
/There’s not much we can do about Snatchings, but the parents still called./
/The parents feared Them./
/They were proverbial gods, sitting in their smooth black ring, silently observing us, and occasionally taking a child every now and then./
/We didn’t know what happened to the snatched./
/They were never seen again./
Alex’s mother was a sobbing wreck when I got there. We did all we could to comfort her, but this was beyond our jurisdiction. We talked her into given us some more information about Alex once she had calmed down.
She said his test scores were highly unusual.
He did extremely well on the Hoffman brain-machine interface, and his psych eval showed thinking that bordered on precognition.
/This is what They wanted./
/The studies of the Snatched showed that these scores were most common amongst the taken children./
We gave Alex’s mother the normal comforting speech. We told her we were trying our hardest to get the lost children back. We told her that we were close to unlocking the final clue in this grand mystery.
/In reality, we hadn’t even scratched the surface./
/Everyone agreed we had much more to learn about Them, but the rest was in the air. Violent approaches were popular, but some still believed They were our salvation./
//
We left Alex’s family home. I always felt terrible after talking to a Snatched child’s parents. It was almost like they knew it was going to happen, and when the snatching did occur, they looked hopelessly broken. We arrived at the Office building a short while later. The surrounding city was dull and grey. The sky was thick with smog, and everyone outdoors wore filtration masks. The few organic trees were dead and brittle. Our office building was a tall, triangular building, surrounded by faux oriental shrubbery and an artificially clean pond with android koi. I left the others in the car, and I entered the Office building. “Mr. Leon, Overseer Takahashi has requested that you meet him in your office in twenty minutes.” The robotic front desk attendant instructed me with a fake smile and augmented friendliness. I gave it silent wave of compliance and headed towards my office, passing endless black cubicles devoted to finding more about Them and their Snatchings along the way.
Nobody waited around the water. We were all too sleepless and stressed. As beings unknowing of night and day, the office workers had become timeless, in an essence. We stumbled with the shuffle of people operating on pure will and stimulants, pushing ourselves from task to task. One more report. One more child. One more hour of overtime. One step closing to winning this silent war against paper and deadlines and public relations.
My office door creaked open, and I threw my backpack into the empty chair next to my desk. It squealed in protest. I needed to get ready for the meeting with Overseer Takahashi. I wearily wiped some scattered papers on my desk into the adjacent recycling bin. I straightened my nameplate. It read : “Isaac Leon. Snatching Investigator 67.” The simulated fish tank on my desk seemed to be functioning properly. I checked my personal appearance, straightening my hair in the small mirror beside my desk. An electric chime indicated Overseer Takahashi’s arrival.
He bowed in greeting, and I returned the friendly gesture. “Mr. Leon, I understood you took the lead on the Alex Smith case this morning”, His voice had a certain accusatory and fatherly tone to it. I nodded. “Mr. Leon, you must understand that you are on administrative leave. You are still being paid full wage until you are deemed fit to return.” He was kind but firm. I understood him. But he doesn’t understand me. I must keep working. I will solve the Snatchings. And as for Them, I might as well kill those bastards once I got my hands on Them.
They took my son.
“Mr. Leon, we understand that you have experienced two great losses in recent times. We want you to be working in your best mental state, and until then I cannot legally allow you to work any more cases.”
I nodded once again.
“We’re deactivating your access to the office until psych clears you to work again”
I nodded a final time.
“Jā Matane, Mr. Leon.”
“Good Evening, Overseer Takahashi.”
He left my office. I picked up my bag and headed out. I walked into the garage where my electric bike was parked. It was one of the few ground vehicles in the parking building. I pulled on my helmet, adjusted my backpack; and started the engine.
//
The ride through the city was disturbingly silent. The only noise over the quiet whirr of my bike was the hot wind and the occasional vehicle. The roads were otherwise empty. When I arrived at my apartment complex, the noise level finally rose from a stunning silence to an aggravated whisper. People feared Them, even in their own homes. I went into my room. It was empty, as always. A few cardboard boxes here and there, and some sparse IKEA furniture. Ever since my son, Asahi, was snatched, the room held an eerie vibe. I felt like I was living amongst a family of spirits. My son and my wife will never truly leave here, but I try to put as much of their ghosts in cardboard boxes that I can.
“Alexa, prepare dinner. And put on some music, please.”
The computerized system complied, and the smart speaker produced a slow and melancholy melody.
The automated kitchenette prepared lasagna. I hung up the grey air-conditioned jacket I was wearing and set my bag on the pine bench below it. Underneath the bench, my son’s and my wife’s shoes were still there. I picked them up and threw them into the nearest open box.
They were only another reminder of those losses. Another distraction, a bump in my journey to getting my son back and avenging my wife, Ada. Ada had been suffering from a previously unknown illness before our son was snatched. His disappearance had broken whatever had been holding the sickness at bay. She was struggling before, but Asahi’s abduction had pushed her over the edge. Her condition had steadily decreased afterward until she passed away.
A sharp tone from the kitchen wrenched me from my reminiscence. The lasagna was getting cold. I walked over to the insta-oven and put the cube of lasagna on a paper plate. The table was worn and empty. There was an empty glass vase in the center, the sole decoration of the dining room. There were small holes and outlines where all the paintings and décor had been taken off the white walls.
“Alexa, make a pot of coffee.”
The antiquated Keurig rumbled and groaned and produced a cup of coffee. I grabbed it and sat down. The countertop was scattered with dirty coffee cups and old energy drink bottles. I had replaced sleep with a steady flow of caffeine and stimulants. I couldn’t afford to sleep. It slowed my work, and it only brought visions of Them.
The lasagna and coffee were both gone by now.
“Mr. Leon, a phone call from an unknown contact is waiting. Would you like to answer?”
I hesitated a moment, but I had nothing to lose by answering.
“Alexa, answer the call.”
The was a faint hum of static from the speaker for a second, and then an electronically distorted voice answered.
“Is this the home residence of Isaac Leon?”
The voice was deep and crackling.
“Yes.”
There was a pause.
“Do you agree to the confidentiality of the proceeding conversation?”
This was rather unusual. An unknown contact was not uncommon, but I’m not familiar with an unknown contact requesting confidentiality…
“Is this a scam?” I tentatively inquired.
“Query Invalid. Yes/No response acceptable.”
I paused and considered hanging up.
“Yes.” Nothing left to lose.
“You will meet me at these coordinates tomorrow at midnight.”
A series of numbers cut through the static. Alexa recorded them.
I opened my mouth to question, but the voice interrupted me again.
“You will not ask questions.”
“You will bring an audio/video recorder.”
“You will find your son.”
This last phrase shocked me. I let it sink in for a moment, and then I answered.
“Understood. I will comply with all requests.”
The call ended.
I prepared for tomorrow.
//
The next 24 hours went quickly. I looked up the coordinates. It was an old cabin out in the old pine forest. It was isolated. Nobody would notice it. Who wants to go and see a forest of dead trees? I overlaid a map of recent Snatchings, and an interesting pattern emerged. We had previously noticed that the snatchings were occurring in overlapping triangles, but whoever had selected the spot had calculated points of symmetry and then the focal point of the triangle. That’s where we were headed. That was where I could find my son.
I tried calling the number back multiple times, but the operator said the number did not exist, nor had it ever existed.
//
At 11:30, I departed from my apartment. I had a backpack with a light, an audio/video recorder, and my railgun. I strapped a floodlight to my bike and rode off into the night. It was quieter than ever, and I could literally hear my helmet filtering out the pollutants from the air.
//
I arrived at the meeting spot 25 minutes early. A man in a heavy cooling jacket was waiting next to the cabin, facing away from me. He turned, his coat billowing out around him in the hot wind. A filtration mask concealed his face, but I recognized the eyes.
It was Overseer Takahashi.
“Good Evening, Mr. Leon.” He greeted me with a disturbing calmness.
I dismounted the bike and bowed as a greeting.
“I apologize for our meeting in the Office. It was only necessary.”
I was thoroughly confused by this cryptic statement.
“What do you mean by that, sir?”
“You will soon understand. Set up the Audio-Video recorder.”
I complied with his request, eager to learn more.
He spoke to the device.
“Hello, Viewer. I am Jun Takahashi, Overseer of Snatchings in the Japanese district of Alaska. I believe we have made a breakthrough in our research.”
He gestured to the cabin, and towards its old oak door.
“This is the epicenter of all the snatchings in the world. It’s not in space, it’s not on the moon, nor does it center on their ship. It’s on Earth. Right here in front of us all. Does that not raise some serious questions?”
He paused to let the implication sit in.
And then he gestured for me to follow him into the cabin.
I took a deep breath and checked the safety on my railgun.
And then I stepped into the dark cabin.
The floors were bare and void of any furniture, save a small chair.
Overseer Takahashi smiled lightly and pulled on the chair. An opening the size of a garage door opened, and a staircase leading to a secure glass door was revealed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to Their home base.”
//
Overseer Takahashi led me down the staircase into the clean white room with the door. The ceiling closed behind us.
“Viewers, is this the alien spaceship you were expecting? Where They were hiding our children? To me, this looks rather human.”
He plugged his mobile communication unit into a slot on the door. Numbers flashed through the screen. A combination was found, and the door opened.
We walked through it.
//
What I saw inside tore apart my entire perception of reality. Red-lit halls were lined with glass-doored dorm rooms that seemed to go infinitely in every direction. Each dorm room was filled with eight children sleeping on four-high bunk beds. Overseer Takahashi gestured for me to follow. “Come, there is more.”
We came to another door, and Overseer Takahashi opened it. The halls were well lit now. The white fluorescents sucked any color out of the floors and walls. It was a corridor of evil purity.
At the end of the hallway was a final door. It was grey and composed of reinforced steel and latticed glass. There was a finality to this portal. Takahashi opened the final door. Only darkness lay beyond.
The lights turned on in the room.
There were a polished table and two metal chairs.
Across the table was my son.
“Asahi!” I shouted, but Overseer Takahashi told me to be silent and to sit down in the chair across from Asahi.
“How did you get us into here? Why are They taking our children here? Why are the no other adults here? What are the kids doing here?”
I asked, my voice filled with accusation, fear, sadness and desperation. All the emotions I had held back through the years were flowing out.
“Your questions will be answered in due time, Mr. Leon.”
“First, turn off the camera.”
I did as he asked.
Overseer Takahashi stood by Asahi’s shoulder.
“Mr. Leon, you are probably wondering why I have brought you here, and why I was able to get in so easily. The answer is simple.”
“I own this facility. Humans are the ones behind the Snatchings.”
What on Earth was happening?! Nothing made sense.
“What about Them? Their spaceship?”
I asked, hoping to ascertain some more information.
“We still do not understand Them.”
“Then why are you taking our children?”
I was infuriated. There was no justification for this act of kidnapping.
Asahi seemed indifferent.
“To prepare. We believe They are hostile. Radiation detectors have discovered multiple high-gain nuclear devices onboard Their ship. Enough to render the entire Earth sterile.”
He spoke with utter seriousness.
“Answer my question. Why do you need my goddamn child to prepare for an extraterrestrial war? Isn’t it the United Nations Space Command’s job to handle this?”
I was getting angry now. My hand was clutching the holster.
“I know you found the connection between the Hoffman-Machine interface and Psych Evals and the kinds of children snatched. These selected children possess certain abilities that we find valuable in combating this new threat. Mr. Leon, have you ever heard of psychic warfare? We believe this is the next step, the next frontier in warfare.”
My mind was spinning now.
“So what do you plan on using them for? Mind control?”
Overseer Takahashi barked a short, harsh laugh.
Asahi remained silent.
“Mr. Leon, we have gone far beyond simple mind manipulation. These children can control computers and machines with their minds. They could be thousands of miles away, and only need to see a picture of what they need to control. They grasp the interface and manipulate it like a puppet.”
“They become the program.”
I was stunned.
“Then why am I here. Why have you brought me here to see my son? Why the camera? What is the meaning of this meeting?”
Overseer Takahashi smiled.
“The camera was a ploy. To get you more comfortable. You have some delusion that you can see the bigger picture. That you are somehow special. That you are can see more than anyone else. This is a fallacy. You are not special. In fact, you have been so blind this entire time to things that are right in front of you. I knew you couldn’t resist the urge to document the truth.”
I could see the pieces falling together.
“You are here to see your son before he departs for final training. We expect to attack Them in two months.”
I looked my son in the eyes. He had not spoken a word, but somehow he communicated the entire story of his abduction.
“No. I have come back here to take my son.”
I stood up and put the Audio/Video recorder in my backpack.
I powered my railgun on.
“I believe that is not possible, Mr. Leon. You will say goodbye to your son and leave. Otherwise, you must die.”
He drew his gun.
I looked at my son.
Asahi winked.
I grabbed my gun and readied to fire.
The magnetic coils charged.
Overseer Takahashi raised his gun to fire.
“That is unwise, Mr. Leon.”
Asahi closed his eyes.
A blue halo appeared around his head.
The coils were charged.
I pulled the trigger.
Just as Overseer Takahashi was about to fire, his gun was ripped from his hand. The magnetically accelerated projectile I had fired ripped through his jacket and into his body.
He dropped cold.
All the lights had turned red, and alarms were blaring all around us.
“Asahi, it’s time to go.”
He turned to me, face lit in an alien red glow, and smiled.
“It has been for a while.”
Asahi stood, stepping gingerly over Overseer Takahashi’s body.
We left without much of a fight. Asahi opened the dorm room doors and some children left. Some stayed.
The guards avoided us. A rogue psychic child and an armed father were beyond their ability.
Asahi and I left. The dying sun was just rising over a grey and white forest. You could still see the moon, and Their silent ring hovering above it.
Asahi and I got on my bike and left the forest.
I didn’t know if I could go back home.
I didn’t know what the future would hold.
I had never killed a man.
I had no idea what They were planning.
But I worried about none of these.
I had my son.
We rode over the black and broken asphalt, into an unknown future.
Before I saw black and white;
but now all I see is static.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    Superficial Life

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Popular Articles

    Happy

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    An Idea

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    It Was Then That I Met You

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    The Crash

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    Fall

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    Past Life

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    To the Sources

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    Harvey

  • //all_I_see_is_static

    Art & Writing

    Rainfall

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Brentsville High School
//all_I_see_is_static