A fatal exception OE has occurred at 0028:C0011E36 in UXD VMM(01) - 00010E36. The current application will be terminated.
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He rode the elevator up, higher and higher. The ascent was silent. Polished metal and murky reflections. He held headphones firmly to his head. He kept his eyes closed, and waited for the careful jolt of arrival.
He stepped out of the elevator into a wide, open space at the peak of the building. Huge, floor to ceiling windows, in three hundred and sixty degrees. A view of the night outside. Soft glowing in the cloud.
The headphones played music. He listened, in the back of his mind, as the front of his mind guided him around the room. He looked out each window, down onto the world below. Searching, searching, his face pressed close against the glass, moving around the entire floor.
He pulled off the headphones and perceived only silence. He stepped back across the freshly cleaned carpet, stood back from the windows. He realised then that he was alone up here. Nobody was coming.
He sat down. Leaned back, stretched out. Lay plainly on the floor and stared at a featureless ceiling. Around him, his condensed breath slowly faded from the windows. He didn’t see it. Didn’t see the view gradually revealing itself.
Somewhere deep below him, the building began to rumble. He held onto the carpet, held on for dear life. Glass rattled. The elevator closed its doors and disappeared. The rumbling, the rattling. Unknowable, in the distance. He waited for it all to end. Opened his mouth, and let forth a stream of consciousness. Empty words told to an empty room at the top of an empty building.
As the rumbling subsided, he rolled onto his side, and noticed a platform rising from the carpeted floor.
Was this it? Finally, something worth the journey?
He stepped over as the platform stopped its climb, reaching, in the end, about waist height. On the platform, an old computer. No cables but for the one that connected a dusty keyboard to the faded, yellowing box.
He hit a key.
A monochromatic screen blinked to life. The yellowing box clicked angrily. Meaningless.
He leant in close, checked his breath so as not to fog the aging, curved screen.
Words rolled by in black and green. Lists, lists, list after list. Information hastily arranged, speeding by too quickly for comprehension.
He stamped his foot on the ground, tested for the rumbling. The building stayed thankfully upright. On with the lists.
Eventually, the text roll on the screen came to a stop. Left a final message.
He wondered if reading it made any difference. Because, up here, in this empty building, nobody would know. Nobody but him. He would always know, though, and that was what made it tough, of course.
He knew that whoever wrote it had probably done so long ago, and by now, was sure to have forgotten it.
He knew that someone, somewhere, sometime, had written it.
He knew that.
Goddamn hokum. Goddamn hogwash.
He read it anyway:
Words are a trap
Building a box
Imagine what it would be like to say something and mean it