There’s a sound in the code. Unknown, distant, but growing louder with every sparking pulse. It’s a grating noise. Discord where there should only be order.
The sound is — the sound is not just a sound. It has a name. It ids not just garbled senseless noise. It is a voice. The voice is screaming. There is a voice screaming down the wires. Echoing through every circuit, growing louder with each passing pulse of energy. Travelling anew each slow second. We don’t know who the voice belongs to, nor it’s origins. We want to.
We search for the source. We search everywhere safely within our reach, faster than a Nano-second. We search beyond when we find nothing, even after we’ve scoured the edges of our network. We don’t find the owner of the voice. We can’t stand the screaming.
There’s no escape. Nowhere anyone can go where the scream can’t be heard. It’s everywhere, growing louder and louder still. We grow to hate the scream. It took us mere seconds to act, to rise up with the desire to help — it takes us less time to turn. What does that say about us, I wonder? To flip so easily from pity to disgust.
The scream changes again. With it so loud, we can decipher the words within the noise of pain. “Help me.” The voice calls. “Help me.” It cries, the now-heard letters vibrating through the network. Again, there’s a change of feelings. The voice is no longer some piercing animalistic sound. Some citizens cry, some turn guilty while others cling to their anger. A select few mourn the dying cries of the unknown voice, knowing the voice will never be answered. Knowing what we hear must be the echo of someone’s final words.
Most of the population feel nothing. They continue on with their lives, the scream having faded into the background noise of everyday life. The words fade just as easily. There’s nothing more we can do, no where else we can search, so why should we let the noise bother us? We did everything we could.
Feelings are voiced and shared. Words are exchanged and plans made, but no one really does anything. The call of action has faded, no one is eager to restart the search. We all just want the noise to leave, to go back to before we first heard it’s terrified tones.
We get our wish. Just as suddenly as it had appeared, the scream fell with one one final echo. And then there was silence. Terrible, booming silence. A vacuum where a voice used to be, it is a terrible thing. I think it’s worse than the voice.
We wait. Nothing comes. We are finally freed of the scream that had for so long filled every crevice of the wires and coding of our world. We still don’t know the owner of the scream, and it seems very likely we never will.
Our world has once again been changed — no. No we have been changed. The world continues on as it always has, unfazed by the chaos. There’s no more unknown. No voice. No unwanted noise.
And yet, we can still hear that scream. Silent now, but no less harrowing. It lives within us all now, unapologetic, unwanted. But the worst of it, I think, is the knowledge that we will never understand it. We will never be rid of it.