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    The Fourth Factor

    The Cipher Tower

    by , 02-15-2020 at 12:24 AM (100 Views)
    I seem to be visiting my parents, who live on an island. Iím busy for most of the day cleaning out a cabinet or wardrobe. In only another hour or so, there are going to be guests over for dinner.

    Weíre out of the house now for some reason. Mother is concerned that Iíve been exerting myself so much, and I should drink some water. Iím not particularly thirsty but say I will. My father and I go off to a sort of convenience store-like shop nearby to buy a bottle, but the water is very expensive Ė almost 10 dollars for a water bottle (though I canít swear it wasn't some other currency). Thatís right, I remember Ė there isnít any fresh water on the island, so it all has to be shipped here, and that makes it so expensive. My father asks if itís OK if I donít get the water, and I say Iím fine with it. Again, I donít particularly care either way Ė I just want to keep them happy.

    Not long after that, I step onto what unexpectedly turns out to be an elevator Ė a floating glass elevator, ŗ la Willy Wonka. It rises up and flies partway across the island to a large building, then down several stories into its basement. I briefly see the various underground floors on the way down. I consider getting off and heading back Ė I donít want to be late for dinner Ė but rumor has it that the headquarters of the secret police is on one of those floors, and I have a history with them. Just walking through their headquarters would be asking for trouble.

    So I wait as some other people get on the elevator and it continues to the third major hub on the island Ė it isnít very large, and so there are only the three. This one is on the other end, farther away Ė a place Iíve never been before. The elevator flies over lawns dotted with groves of trees. Itís dusk now, and we approach and pass a blue light Ė some sort of decorative sculpture marking the approach. This whole area is like an estate, or a place that was one at some previous time.

    Once weíre there, I get off. Thereís a tower there Ė perhaps I have to climb down the side to get to the ground, but one way or another, I wind up climbing on it. Itís a fairly small building, though tall, made of square, grey stones, each of which has a shape cut through it large enough to make a foothold or handhold Ė circles, squares, stars, etc. Each stone is also marked with two sets of letters, one a capital letter, the others one or more lowercase ones. As I grab hold of one hollow stone, I feel a switch flip on the inside edge, causing the opening to light up. The whole thing is a giant cipher key, I realize. I donít have any messages in need of decoding Ė but if I happen to find any, I now know exactly where to bring them.

    I climb around for a bit, playing around with it to make sure I know how it works. But once Iím back on the ground, a woman starts yelling at me for climbing on the tower. Guess I wasnít supposed to be doing that. I stay calm. What sheís saying doesnít make much sense Ė really not a coherent accusation against me at all, just anger. I ask a couple reasonable questions. She answers, still in an angry tone. But then, having lost her momentum, the absurdity of it seems to dawn on her, and she starts laughing. I laugh, too. It seems like everything is OK now.

    12.2.20
    DarkestDarkness likes this.

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