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Hi all, I’m Angus. I have a crazy story to tell and I feel nosleep is the best place for it.
This isn't actually something that happened to me. I have this friend over in Korea who I met through- don’t judge- a ‘Lifehackers’ Facebook group. He’s called Kim Sijin and he’s got a pretty voracious mind as well as incredible English, plus he’s synesthetic which makes him...fun...to talk to.
I live in Shanghai and Sijin is a bit of a low-key Sinophile, so generally the idea is I share bizarre China stories in exchange for updates on his exploits in Seoul.
We like to keep our messages long and infrequent, and a little stilted. Kind of in the Victorian tradition, you know.
What’s coming below is amalgamation of several very emotional messages Sijin sent me following the loss of his closest friend, Han-Jae. I merged some messages and fixed up his typos. As you’ll see while reading, I kind of just took a backseat as he broke open his proverbial dam and unloaded. A wise choice, I think.
Sijin gave me full permission to share this story. By the end you will see why.
This is not a short tale. Before the journey into the elevator shaft begins, Sijin has plenty to say. He is not a normal person. He sees things you cannot. That makes his story one worth listening to.
Make of it all what you will.
I like to spy on people.
That’s new to me.
Yeah, I didn’t tell you? I peer through their webcams. Actually it’s not even about the people. It’s about the places. So many of these windows into the world exist, and it’s very easy to open them.
The branch manager of a budget hotel franchise. The security officer of a countryside engineering college. The granny in charge of a noodle shop for grannies. An uptight father who wants household ‘security’. All of these will usually not think or bother to alter the default username and password of their cameras. And so, someone like me- or you, Angus- can get in. The ‘hack’ involves dropping keywords into Google that turn up the camera control panels. Click the link, enter a default factory login, and presto, you have opened a gateway to another place on earth.
What you can see through the gateways is mostly very dull, but the scope of it all is incredible. All these portals puncturing the mundane. All these otherworlds. You realise quickly that most of the human world is made of empty spaces. Locked restaurants. Swimming pools at 3am. Underground car park labyrinths. Long, well lit hallways. While you are huddled with your friends, family, or co-workers on the bus, at home, or at the computer, you forget that all the other places where you spend your life are queer abandoned zones which turn pitch black at night, unless someone is there to switch on the lights.
Don’t you feel detached when you’re watching? And eventually, just, bored?
Yes, but… Sometimes no.
Once I saw a granny in Hokkaido, not so far across the sea, staring into a mirror with a bitter red frame and a shelf that was decorated with pictures and jewels. She was dressed for the cold and her hair was short and boyish. I was looking straight down on her. There was no obvious emotion on her face, but she seemed at peace. I wanted to know what she was thinking about. I wanted to know who she was and if she would sit there all day, and why there was a CCTV camera in her living room.
Shouldn’t that have been the point where you stopped?
Han-Jae said the same. I said yes, I would stop, but only after I saw something awful. Eventually, of course, I did.
Other friends and even family have said I pay too much heed to Han-Jae. They say I should take care not to appear to be involved in some kind of boy love thing with him. Well to them I’d say they only cry ‘boy love’ because they do not understand our friendship, because our friendship is not normal, or traditional. I’ve never claimed to be a normal Korean boy, nor do I ever wish to be. Han-Jae feels the same, though he would never say as much.
That’s one reason I like sharing all this with you. You’re outside this society. You don’t judge.
And I like you too. Obviously.
Thanks. Friends are…well. I will always need at least one.
Han-Jae and I are both synaesthesiacs. (That’s the wrong word in English but I happen to like it.) We don’t fit. No, I’m lying. He fits in fine. I am the outcast.
Even my synaesthesia runs counter to Korean thinking. Everything ‘good’ is to my eyes, red. Red for we Koreans is not exactly a death colour, but it means nothing good. For me, death is signified by the smell of copper, and red is everything beautiful. Like chocolate bars: dark chocolate bars are a solid block of rich crimson. Milk chocolate is lovely traffic light red. White chocolate is pastel red, like you’d find in a kindergarten. When I talk about the red things I see Han-Jae talks back at me using the name ‘Jinshi’, which is what my given name ‘Sijin’ sounds like when you render it in Chinese. Did I mention that before?
No. But that’s fascinating. Is that Jin like ‘gold’? 金?
Yeah, I think so.
Han-Jae went to the effort of converting the name because the Chinese have the same ideas about red, of course. They think red is good. I think red is good. So I must be Chinese. So I must be Chinese Jinshi, not Korean Sijin. Han-Jae’s sense of humour. Silly guy.
‘Awesome’. Just testing.
Oh. Anyway, more about this asshole.
If you play music to Han-Jae, the notes float past his face. If you feed him waffles and a BLT, he will see the heat, texture, and flavour of the food flash around the room. He has a calendar and abacus that he can generate any time he likes, and then use to outthink you using only his eyeballs. He once correctly measured the speed of a friend’s electric bicycle down to one decimal point just by watching it pass him by. He sees the colour of people’s emotions, flushed around their face, and he uses this to charm girls. What I am trying to say is that Han-Jae is a real bastard.
I don’t get many dates. Han-Jae does. Blah blah blah. You’ve heard all this moaning before.
So anyway my point is that with Han-Jae I do things beyond the usual juvenile playtime. You remember the time Han-Jae and I went looking for ‘ghosts’? I never quite said we were really looking for ‘holes’. Localised instances where the logic of the world- physics maybe- is no longer consistent. If you ever exploited a bug in a video game for fun or to cheat, you can grasp this. Think of any time you had déjà vu. You deeply, deeply felt you were reliving a moment you have not yet lived. In other words it is some form of time travel. Whether the form is true or simulated, and whether déjà vu occurs in the mind or somewhere else...these are beside the point. The point is that déjà vu breaks the rules of everyday existence.
Imagine introducing the concept of saving to disk and digital rewriting to, say, an Imperial Japanese typist working in Seoul during the occupation period. In fact, imagine you told a medieval European typist that you could duplicate a hundred copies of his Bible in the blink of an eye. To each typist it would seem that you have broken some rule of the universe and opened up an exploit.
Of a kind.
Synaesthesia is arguably one such ‘hole’. Look at how easily Han-Jae and I breezed through the Korean education system. We process text, figures, and diagrams faster than normal people. We can read novels, music, and the emotions on an immediately deeper level than anyone bar the experts. We are incredibly well organised, and as such have extra time and energy to spend chasing after world-hacks.
Maybe you recall some of our attempts. The first thing we tried was to hack our own vision by instigating voluntary hallucinations. This proved a total failure. Next we tried the occult. As in, summoning demons. Remember that? Total failure again. Next we tried local legends. I never told you this part. It’s cool. There’s supposed to be a restless fox girl who swims underwater in a canal just a few kilometres from our residential district. There’s a rather convoluted backstory: it involves UN soldiers, a Communist cell, a nuclear waste barrel, and an old medicine man. You can imagine. It was a good excuse to explore the streets at least, and I liked getting a feel for the local history (Han-Jae didn’t– he’s smart as hell but there isn’t an intellectual bone in his body), but of course we saw no canal ghost.
Han-Jae and I talked pretty seriously about whether to give up or whether to press on. We decided, mostly thanks to my line of argument, that we would press ahead, but with a narrower focus. We had to hone in on real exploits. No more kids’ games. Together we once researched something really interesting: in a country called Scotland there is a place called the Electric Brae. It distorts perspective so that objects appear to roll uphill when left to rest. That sort of thing would be our target. Glitches that call the world’s fabric into question.
I warned that this might require travel, but Han-Jae believed quite firmly that if any country could provide, it would be South Korea. When I chided him for this warped version of patriotism he conceded that Japan might also be a candidate. I had to agree. It’s a pretty weird place. The strange thing is...Han-Jae was right. After a few wasted days of searching the Korean-language internet, we found something on a dead forum. I'll paste in an English translation. It is the instructions for something called The Elevator Game. Brace yourself...
I know many of you guys on nosleep are already familiar with the elevator game, so to save you the bother of reading through its rules again I have cut them out of Sijin’s messages and pasted them onto a page on my own site. The uninitiated should click the link below, read, then return.
The Elevator Game According to Kim Sijin
Now, enough from me.
Fucking hell man. Quite a lot to take in.
Something which both I and Han-Jae picked up on quite quickly is that this game bears more than a passing resemblance to a cheat code from a 90s video game. The essence of this game is that a certain sequence of numbers opens up access to an alternate world. That the number sequence must be input into a elevator number pad rather than, say, the number pad on a phone or a laptop, seemed little more than a dramatic conceit designed to flavour the game...or so said the cynic in me. Han-Jae and I wanted it to be real. The first thing we did was note down the number sequence. It’s below:
1 (get on)
5 (girl boards)
1 (If successful, elevator heads to 10)
We searched for previous and later versions of the game, and the accounts of those who had played it. We found nothing useful: just conflicting accounts, spooky stories written to entertain, and quack websites better ignored. So, we had to come to our own logical conclusions.
If the elevator setting were superfluous to the number sequence, then the other details- the girl, the red cross, and the frightening pedantry- were super-superfluous. And yet, when Han-Jae and I elected to play the game, we agreed very firmly that we would heed each command precisely. The cost of any mistake seemed far too high to risk in the event that the game proved real, and as I said, we wanted it to be real. I remember how it felt when we sat there, on my apartment’s bed, taking in the weight and strangeness of our choice.
After deciding to treat it all as real, we agreed that we would need a strategy. The first choice should be a familiar building. No problem. We were already resting nineteen floors above ground in my own residential tower. I knew the workings of the elevators, I knew the look of the each floor (give or take), and I knew the quiet hours. I also had one more very powerful advantage. More about that later.
I can’t believe you’re teasing me like this.
More about it later.
The second part of our strategy would be to leave markers on each floor. This would give us a way to check whether we were in our world, or the Other World. Unless of course the Other World was going to present us with duplicates of our markers, but we thought this unlikely. A tactic to minimise this risk was to deploy markers closely attached to the identities of real humans, since the population of the Other World is apparently always 1. Objects attached to people familiar to us could also provide extra sensory information. For example, a picture of my lost love might glow pale cyan or some other mournful shade, but a fake picture of my lost love might not glow at all. Or of course it might be a very good fake, and trigger the same neural reaction in my brain. Anyway... We chose:
Of course. Spill the beans.
A month earlier, I hacked my residential tower’s CCTV network. It was a nice coincidence. You are probably picturing me sitting hunched on my bed with a laptop connected to wifi or plugged into the wall, hammering at the keyboard as code and ip addresses raced across the screen. If you remember what I told you about synaesthetic powers you may be trying to picture the code as I see it: a dense multicolour language. You’re wrong about everything except about the bed part. I’d rather be on a sofa, but I don’t have one, because sofas are expensive and coders like me are paid shit.
Hacking at its most efficient makes use of ‘social hacking’. This provides direct access. Direct access would be like me opening up your computer which you never set a password for, opening your web browser, and opening up Facebook which you have set to auto login. Voila, I now have enormous power over your data, and therefore you. The only part where skill entered that direct access was the part where I got close enough to you and your life to be able to have some alone time with your computer. That aspect could be considered a social hack. A particularly devastating social hack in the modern age goes thusly: watch your target tap the 4 digit unlock code into their smart phone. Now wait for a chance to swipe their wallet. There is an incredibly high chance that their bank card and phone are using the same pin. Along the same line, try watching a friend as they type in a password to any website. There is a huge chance this will give you access to a great many, if not all, of their other logins. The jackpot is the email, because you can use that to receive password reminders and resets for any accounts you are still locked out of. This is only theoretical by the way. I have only socially hacked once, and that was to master the CCTV in the building I live in.
For an unsociable guy I think I executed the hack quite excellently. I started by saying hi to one of the younger lobby guards on a Monday. There is a security booth downstairs, and only ever one guard on duty. On Tuesday I came home after work and saw the same guy, so I asked him how the day was going. He said fine, I agreed, and I commented on the weather. On Wednesday we had a rainstorm so I talked to him about the weather a bit more, and so on. In a fortnight I knew his shifts and we had been out drinking a couple of times. His name was Dong Moon, usually just Dong, and he had a girlfriend a few years younger than him. I never met her. Dong liked his job because it was easy and because he likes looking after people. Dong prefers cheap American beer over any cheap Asian beer. Dong fears spiders. Dong has a pet bird called 부리. And so on.
I’ve met guards in China who could be Dong’s long lost cousins.
I bet you have.
One night late at the bar Dong drank far too much soju and ended up begging me to drag him ‘home’. ‘Home’ was the security booth, because it was 3am and his morning shift had begun one hour ago. I got him home, got some water down his jabbering throat, and sent him to bed. Then I logged into his computer. Half drunk, it was not difficult at all to note down the camera system’s ip address, and only a little harder to reset the login details. I made sure when doing this to set the system back to Auto Sign-in. This way Dong Moon and the other guards would never know anything had changed. I locked the booth door behind me and hoped I hadn’t just got my new friend fired.
The cameras in the tower did not show me anything I found particularly interesting but I did bookmark them, partly in case I should ever need them and partly because they just felt like a nice thing to have. I felt I had more of a stake in the tower block now, if not its living community.
The hard part of this story comes now. I have been avoiding it. So, Han-Jae was the player, and I was the perceiver. It was, again, 3am when we began. We were standing on the first floor lobby, checking our contraptions were functional. You see, we brought a lot of technology into the game. In my nineteenth floor apartment sat my laptop, plugged in and online and with a windows open for all relevant cameras. Each of us carried a charged, credited smartphone, and also a second-hand walkie talkie as backup. We were going to try and stay in direct contact through a 4G video call on the smartphones. Failing that we’d switch to a regular phone call. Failing that we’d switch to walkie talkie. Of course, the rules of the game had told us it was likely all technology would fail once Han-Jae entered the Other World, but a likelihood was not a certainty, and we had to try, just in case it was all real.
Dong Moon, still my friend, was watching us. “Good luck lads,” I remember he said. “Don’t let her seduce you.” Dong’s sense of humour.
“I can’t even speak to her!” Han-Jae protested.
“Then she’s lucky!” Dong yelled.
Han-Jae turned to me and mumbled, “Dong’s face is glowing purple.”
I grinned. “Your confusion colour. That’s good, right?”
“Hm. Maybe.” He scratched nonchalantly at his cheek. “Okay man. See you on the other side.”
“See you on the other side.”
You have no idea.
I entered the elevator first. I promised Han-Jae I’d watch him closely over each floor. He replied with a smirk, but I saw a glimmer of something in his expression. You won’t understand this, but the glimmer was a shade of black. My own fear kicked in as soon as the elevator doors shut. First I imagined the elevator taking me to the wrong floor- not too bad- but then I imagined it taking me to the wrong nineteenth floor, and I felt a little scared. Then I wondered: suppose that girl in black gets on halfway up, and suddenly I felt cold. I knew this had been a bad thought. When the elevator passed the seventeenth floor I wasn’t blinking, by the eighteenth I was backed into a corner, and by the nineteenth I was ready to scream as the steel doors parted and slide open to reveal...empty space. My floor hallway at 3am. Dusty, silent, and eerie, but no more eerie than normal. I cursed and marched to my room.
I flumped onto my bed and video-called Han Jae. He picked up and showed me his face. No expression.
“Okay, you’re good to go,” I said.
“Right,” said Han-Jae quietly. I checked the hacked CCTV on my laptop and saw him through the lobby camera, standing limp at the elevator doors. You would have seen him as a dark figure on a grey floor pulsing with digital grain, but when I look at a black and white screen or image, I see colours. The colours are never quite realistic but they are usually an approximation of what one ought to be seeing if the screen were in colour. Presently I saw him as blue, and the lobby a pale yellow. When the doors opened, the inside of the elevator gave off a faint red light.
He checked the numbers scrawled onto his arms and stepped in. The video call cut off. Immediately I switched over to the elevator cam on the laptop. I saw him press 4 and watched the doors shut. The steel container began to move.
“Han-Jae,” I said. “Shit shit shit.” I fumbled for my phone, and thank god, it rang. He had called me first. We were on a normal audio call now. “Han-Jae. You hear me all right?”
“Yeah, think so,” he replied. “Just about to reach– ”
The doors of the fourth floor slid open.
“You see my photo album?”
“Yeah,” he confirmed. “See it on the floor. Same place we left it.”
“Don’t leave the elevator,” I cautioned. “We should only check the items if something goes wrong.”
“Agreed,” said Han-Jae. He sounded a little happier now. “Though it can’t be real.”
“There’s the tiniest chance.”
“Agreed.” Han-Jae pressed 2.
He reached the second floor pretty quickly. It looked as if nobody was going to interrupt our game. Every floor was abandoned save for the objects we left behind. The inside of the elevator still glowed that light red. The floors and stairways outside were still blue. I told this to Han-Jae.
“Interesting,” he said. “I certainly don’t feel warm in here. Some red would be nice.”
“What do you see?” I asked.
Han-Jae paused. The elevator doors were still open facing the second floor, but he paced inside the steel container as he spoke. “Well, my ring. The second floor, the far windows. But on top of that I smell oil. Could be real, could by synaesthetic. I hear a kind of a hum, it’s lower on the low floors. Higher pitch higher up.”
I knew this was not the full story. “Interesting,” I said.
“The tenth will be the highest.” Han-Jae said this with no doubt.
I fell silent.
“Alright,” said Han-Jae. “Sixth floor.” He pressed the button.
As the elevator rose I scanned the windows on my screen to check the floor. Still nobody, still nothing. On floor ten a little extra light pooled in around the windows. It flashed, because the source was a neon sign. My vision coloured it lime. The elevator halted at floor 6. I heard Han-Jae take a sharp breath down the line. It crackled.
“Are you okay?” I checked.
“Yeah,” said Han-Jae. And then, “Ah.”
“My mother’s Kimchi!”
I laughed and rocked on the bed a little. “Ah shit, Han-Jae. I thought it was something serious.”
“Oh no no no, it’s okay.”
“What does smell like?”
“Like a cool breeze! The smell looks like a deep blue sky.” He snorted. “Okay okay. Back to floor two.”
As the doors shut and the elevator began to move, I asked, “Could you smell the kimchi?”
“Barely,” said Han-Jae.
These were the last normal words we ever spoke to each other. Absurd, I know. We’d already said our final face-to-face words: See you on the other side.
Quite appropriate. The other side was on its way.
I spotted movement on one of my screens. My index finger shot forward to the track pad, and I brought the relevant window forward. The air dropped from my lungs. A black figure on the fifth floor.
I tried to tell Han-Jae but the yell caught in my throat. I coughed and tried to swallow, uselessly.
“Sijin?” Han-Jae called down the line.
Click. The elevator reached the second floor. Han-Jae barely glanced to check for his ring. Just as he hit 10, my breath came back to me. I rose and paced the bedroom floor, not taking my eyes off the laptop screen.
“She’s on the fifth floor,” I said.
I saw Han-Jae double over a little. Then he bent his knees and crouched in the corner of the elevator. After a pause he asked, “What does she look like?”
I’m proud to say I kept the fear out of my voice when I answered. If I was to be Han-Jae’s eyes in the sky, that meant I had to provide the sense of confidence and security, and not vice versa. To my eyes, the air on that fifth floor was tinted blue, smeared yellow by light electronic, but she was a spot of pure grey and black. Her hair was long but not madly so, and a little messy, but not chaotic. The camera I was watching through was not close enough to get a good look at her, but I could see that was Asian, like us. She wore a very plain but well-fitted black dress which came down to her knees, giving her a sort of service-industry look. The sort of young woman Han-Jae and I worked alongside in our crappy jobs. She was standing in the middle of the floor, facing the elevator, completely motionless. There was something off about her stance, but I couldn’t place what it was.
“Well?” Han-Jae repeated. Ding. The elevator doors opened to the silent tenth floor. Han-Jae pushed the button to shut them but did not begin the descent to the next stage.
“She’s young, like the game directions said. Maybe our age. She’s wearing a black dress, her hair’s a bit messy, and she’s...good looking. So if we go ahead with the next step, make an extra effort not to look at her or talk to her.”
It was supposed to be a little joke, but Han-Jae did not laugh. “You’re looking at her,” he said.
My heart jolted, but remember, I didn’t show fear. “Oh sure, but she can’t see me.”
“What’s she looking at?”
He’d caught me. No fear, no fear. “She’s looking at the elevator doors.”
Han-Jae cursed. I saw him in the CCTV, facing the wall now, pressing free hand against his forehead.
“Han-Jae,” I said. “We know it’s real. We can back out now. You can just zip up to Floor 19 and meet me, or we can both go down to the ground and get out of this building for a while.
“No,” said Han-Jae. “No. It could be coincidence. She could just be another resident...” A dark thought moved through him. “Sijin, are you fucking with me? Did you put her up to this?”
“What?” I yelled into the phone. “No! Han-Jae, I’m as serious about this as you. I’m looking for a hole in the universe, it’s not a fucking joke. Come on man, I love you!”
I didn’t mean to say that last part, but it came out.
“I love you too,” said Han-Jae. “You’re right. It’s not a joke. Let’s do this together.”
“Don’t forget, you’ve got the Swiss army knife.”
“You’re right.” Han-Jae picked it up off the floor, pocketed it, and pressed the button for the fifth floor.
“Stay on the line,” I said, as I listened to his forced breaths.
“On no account hang up. You’re going to keep me with you. Right in your ear. Alright Han-Jae?”
“Alright.” A pause as the elevator passed Floor 7. “Okay here we go. I won’t talk while I’m with her. I grunted assent and watched Han-Jae stand himself by the controls, looking from the outside like any other normal resident on his way home. The doors spread open, and on my laptop the woman in black passed from the fifth floor camera window into the elevator camera window. Han-Jae stayed silent with his head down. His left hand kept the mobile phone pressed to his ear, and the right rested in his pocket, where he hid the knife. His breaths were coming quickly now. The woman’s body faced the elevator door just like Han-Jae, but she had turned her head to watch him. My ribcage began to shake. I sat down on the bed again, to steady myself. Han-Jae reached slowly for the button that would take him to the next stage of the game.
Button 1. The rules had told us that if the elevator began to move down toward the first floor, the ritual had failed, and the game would end and Han-Jae would be free to exit at the first floor. If the elevator began to move up, it was heading to the tenth floor and would open up the way into the other world.
I would like to tell you that I was fighting an urge to run down the tower stairway and rescue my best friend from this madness that had overtaken us, but that would be a lie. My urge was only to scream down the line, but I held this scream back because I was worried it would alert the woman in black.
The elevator began to move up.
I clenched my free fist, screwed shut my eyes, and gave a long, deep sigh. I heard Han-Jae do the same. When I opened my eyes I saw that the woman was no longer staring at him. She was facing forward, standing straight, doing nothing. In the enclosed space of the elevator I was able to get a better look at her. The shocking thing was her normality. Her dress was smooth and clean, her body was healthy but not athletic, her nails were not ragged. She wore black shoes and black tights. Her face was clean and typically Korean. Her expression was flat, and perhaps ever so slightly content. The only ‘dint’ in her was the messy hair. The rules had told us ‘she is not what she seems’. What did that mean?
When I ponder her now, I think about what a great, awful unknown we had waltzed into. We did not know whether this woman was a human, whether she was from the other world, whether she lived there, whether she was a tool in the employ of some other figure, and so on. The rules mentioned the risk that upon looking at her or speaking to her, she may ‘keep you for her own’. How would she do that, and what would she do? Would she teleport you to some hell a mile below the earth? Would she turn and attack you with tooth and nail? Or would she lead you to some luxurious bedroom in the other world and make frantic love to you? We never found out.
When the doors opened at floor 10, the call and the camera cut off. Everything went dark.
“No no no! Shit!” I screamed. A thump on the wall followed. I’d woken a neighbour. I was about to scream again when my walkie talkie crackled. I heard a feminine voice. It said, softly:
“Where are you going?”
The voice was far off. Closer, I could hear footsteps and breathing.
I pressed down my ‘Send’ button. “Han-Jae?” I whispered.
A long silence, and then.
“...Here,” he whispered back.
“Is she gone?”
“Yeah she’s gone.”
“Are you in the other world?”
In his voice I heard thrill couched between the fear and wonder.
“The tenth floor camera went dark,” I said. “And our call cut off.”
“My phone died too,” said Han-Jae. “But somehow the walkie talkie– ”
I interrupted. “What can you see?”
I really needed to know.
“Uh...” said Han-Jae. “It’s just like the rules said...the same building, same walls, only nobody is here. All the lights are turned off.”
I was frozen still on my bed. I felt as if only three parts of me were still able to move: my heart, my mouth, and my tongue. “Is your synaesthesia giving you anything?”
A pause from Han-Jae, and some footsteps. “I’m not sure. At the end of the hallway I see the red cross. It’s bright and it’s red. I think it’s the Christian cross.”
“So,” I began, but Han-Jae cut over me.
“But when I walk toward it, it gets smaller. Just like how for me boring things seem smaller. A trick of perspective. It has to be, because if it were actually getting smaller it would have vanished inside the wall.”
“Maybe the other world hacked your synaesthesia,” I suggested. Anything seemed possible.
Han-Jae ignored this, as I thought he might. After ten seconds of silence the walkie talkie crackled and he spoke again.
“Fucking hell, man,” he said, slowly.
“I went to the window. I’m looking. The red cross is on another tower building, not too far off. But, fucking hell. The city.”
“It’s exactly the same but it’s dark. The buildings, they’re just big black shadows. Black giants. I. I see streetlights and signs but they’re all dark. They’re all switched off... It can’t be real.”
'Black giants'…I just shivered. Sijin, is this real? You’re not making it up?
I wish, I wish, I wish I was. But this is real. Not one word is fabricated. I promise you. This is, well, by the end, you'll know why you’ve heard nothing from me for the last week. Alright?
There was a strain on Han-Jae’s voice now so I tried my hardest to be strong for him. “It has to be real Han-Jae, you’re living it.”
“Yes, you’re right, I’m living it. Sijin.”
“The air smells like copper. And it’s so heavy. And you know Sijin, you know that means for me, for me...for me that means something awful must have happened here.”
“I don’t know!” he squawked. “Maybe 5 years ago. Maybe 500 years ago. Maybe...maybe 5 minutes ago. It’s a mystery I can admit, but I know it happened!”
“Are there people?”
“No people. Only empty cars. Nothing moving. It looks dead. Only, I feel that it’s not dead, Sijin, something is alive here...”
“What? How can you tell? And if you can see things outside, where is the light coming from?”
Han-Jae made a little laugh here. It was the smallest, saddest sound I think I’ve ever heard. “The stars, Sijin. The light is coming from the stars.”
Then the laugh grew louder, and cruel.
I knew that I had to keep talking and asking questions. I had to keep him tethered to his own world. If not I’d be allowing him to drift away into the void. Another idea came to me. “Han-Jae. Did you check if the shoes are there?”
“The shoes we left as our item on the tenth floor, ours. Can you see them?”
Hurried footsteps and then the line cut. It opened again three seconds.
“Found them,” said Han-Jae. “They’re here.”
Shit. “Are they the same? Exactly, to every detail. The laces and the marks and stuff.”
A pause. “...it looks like it.”
“Shit.” Shit shit shit shit shit.
“Sijin, how did they do this?”
“They did this! How?” Pacing, breathing.
“Han-Jae. It’s an empty world. Calm down.”
“It’s not, Sijin, it’s not. I’m going down to the stairs. My ring is down there.”
“You should get back into the elevator and come back.”
“No,” said Han-Jae, “no my ring is down there and I need it, and your photos, and if they’re– ” then he stopped.
“Han-Jae?” I yelled.
I heard a swoosh. A grunt. Cracks and thumps came down the line. Then it cut.
I rose and paced in tiny, tiny circles, saying his name over and over. The walkie talkie flared up just before I lost my mind. This would be the final time it spoke to me. It spoke in Han Jae’s voice.
“Sijin! Help!” it yelled.
Even today, his call haunts me. In the morning, the afternoon, the evening, and in the middle of the night, it returns.
I bolted from my apartment. I did not bother to lock the door or pick up a weapon. I ran to the staircase, not the elevator, and descended nine whole floors as fast as I dared. In only fell once, and bounced back up, yelling “Shit! Fuck!” as one does in a panic. On the tenth floor there was nothing. Only our shoes and the hallway light. My synaesthesia coloured the shoes a dim red tint, because red was the colour of good things, and our friendship had been good.
Here's what I know: Han-Jae is still missing. Sijin continues to mourn. The story is not over.
Sijin's only consolation, I think, is that there are others who have also sailed into the void.
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2016.01.20 17:22 wanderingbilby Spy wifi camera smallest
Hi all! My previous guide is now quite old and out of date, so I'm writing a new one that is up to date and has even more cool things! As before, please let me know if I've missed any neat projects or ideas and I'll update this post. Here's a link to the old post in case you're curious.
Let's start at the start.
What's a Raspberry Pi? A Raspberry Pi is a SBC - Single Board Computer. That is, it is an entire computer that fits on one circuit board. Almost all functions of the Raspberry Pi (henceforth Pi) are handled by a Broadcom SoC. SoC stands for "System on Chip" which basically just means one microchip handles all of the tasks for that system.
Now, the Pi is not like a Windows or Macintosh computer - the SoC used uses an architecture called ARM which means you can't install Windows 7 or 10 on it. However, there are many different versions of Linux available for the Pi, as well as some special versions of Windows 10 that are just for communication (no interface). You can also decide you want to write your own operating system and start from "bare metal".
What features do I get? With this inexpensive computer you get a lot of features you wouldn't expect.