Chapter Eighteen – Dfghjgygrfxdigultdjktdyjtdyf\sefgegr

27 Jul

Well, actually, I didn’t find it. It found me. What actually happened was that I typed a whole bunch of things into Google and, as I expected, nothing came up. I rolled my eyes and muttered a few things before realising that I’d been leaning against the keyboard. There was a whole stream of random text in the search bar – something like ‘dfghjgygrfxdigultdjktdyjtdyf\sefgegr’, I think.

With nothing better to do, I hit enter. The strange pyramid appeared in the middle of my screen with a wall of bright green text underneath it. It took me a couple of seconds to realise that it was in mirror writing. Still, once I’d found a small enough mirror, it actually made some kind of sense. Well, as much sense as anything here could possibly make.

“The mark has appeared for a third time this week. Although, in four of it’s possible shapes, it bears some similarities with the sigil of the portentious portal – it is something else entirely. Records of past appearances have been unclear, but it is very likely that it serves as a beacon of some kind or another. As a way of drawing people’s curiosity for reasons which are, as of yet, unknown. It is no coincidence that previous sightings, typically characterised by an almost catatonic state of wonder, have only been by those who were deemed to be outcasts or heretics. This may account for the unreliable records.”

“Whilst I have yet to understand the meaning of this symbol – the evocation of curiosity which accompanies it must serve some purpose or other. After all, everything in this grand machine of a cosmos is but a cog. Even though we cannot see the intricate engine which drives it or even always divine it’s design, it is there. This curious mark has a meaning – or perhaps the curiosity is the meaning. As I postulated earlier, it is most likely a beacon, serving to draw attention to something of genuine curiosity. As to what this is, I cannot speculate. But, as well as writing it in my records, I have sent this message out into the aether in the hope that one day it may be studied by future generations – Gustavus Freidrich Drosselmeyer III, 12th December 1870.”

The rest of the text wall was just the same message repeated over and over again. Whoever this man was, he was the first person I’d seen since I got here who actually had some answers. It was just a shame that he was long dead by now – never having found the answer to the question he had asked all those years ago. But, everything he said actually made sense in an odd way. I guess I really did know it when I saw it.

It would explain a lot about the wooden models too. I mean, someone might have sent them to look for whatever that pyramid thing was pointing towards. But that didn’t quite add up – I mean, their actions just didn’t fit in with that kind of pattern. If they’d been roaming the streets and tearing open every door, then it would make more sense. But, no, all they did was lurk around coffins, ink and cathedrals. I guess I’d have to work out all the answers to that particular subject myself.

After reading it again, I printed off the web page and all the stills from my camera before crashing out on my bed.

Instead of a dream, I found myself inside the pattern which had been on TV earlier. It whirled and whooshed around me, as transient and insubstantial as sparks from a dying firework. Luminous patches of neon plasma swirled and flashed in the distance. Squinting against all of this, I looked for the pattern. It took me all of a minute to find it, lurking in the background and shifting into a different shape every time I thought about describing it.

Dodging a few sparks, I reached for the pattern. It changed again and moved a few inches away from me. Three yellow-blue glowing patches appeared in front of me, but I could still see the pattern through the gap in between them. Against all of my instincts, I jumped towards the patches. Despite half-expecting third-degree plasma burns or something equally horrific, I just passed through them. Two purple-green sparks whizzed through my legs as if I was a ghost. This was all an illusion, nothing was solid.

Taking a deep breath, I broke into a run and aimed myself at the pattern. It threw up patch after patch, but it didn’t slow me down. As soon as it was within reaching distance, I threw my arms out towards it. For half a second, I touched the edge of it. It had the slushy consistency of an ice lolly which had been left out in the sun and was seconds away from melting completely.

My eyes snapped open. It was bright outside. Slowly, a smile crept over my face – Gustavus Friedrich III had got it all wrong. The pattern wasn’t a beacon, it was a decoy. A decoy meant to distract curious people from something. I guess that when I found that something, I really would know what it was when I saw it.

Picking up my jacket, I looked at the battered old alarm clock by my bed – I still had half an hour before I was supposed to meet Rosie again. I just hoped that she’d found something more interesting.

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