The Stolen Man: Escape, Episode 2-3
(S.M. Table of Contents)
The keypad is giving up nothing. You stare at it, whisper to it, speak sternly to it, mutter, pace and fidget, but it just sits there unmoved, deaf to your entreaties and insensitive to your danger.
You are so tired, so confused and bewildered by the day, that you ponder seriously the idea of just sitting down and waiting for whatever is to come. It’s hard to invest much in a life you can’t remember. From the little you’ve begun to glean your life may not have been worth that much to begin with.
What have you learned?
*You somehow raise or provide funds for activities no one else will fund. Sounds sketch.
*You are the kind of person others would lock in a cage to die, with a reputation for doing the same.
*You work for or with a couple of numbers and you yourself are a number.
*You can detect lies in people…
…or maybe none of this is accurate…
…And you still don’t know who you are, who Helen is, who Six and Seven are, who did this to you or why…
…or how to get out of this stupid cage.
“You heard what I did.” What did she do? She conquered the keypad and then put a living body in the cage when she left. Even if you manage to figure out the keypad, which seems impossible, how are you going to get someone else in here in your place?
“…heard what I did,” heard. Doesn’t she mean “saw”? That you “saw” what she did?
You stare at the keypad…Maybe not.
Ok, what did you hear? Run it back in your head.
She said Gulliver’s Travels, then she punched the first button. At the end she said, “commandments, witches, wonders, lights on.”
When you first came in it was “habits, plagues, commandments, witches, wonders, lights on” …Where did Dan go?…”habits, plagues, commandments, witches, wonders, lights on.”
Wait! These are all numbers. 10 plagues, 10 commandments, 7 wonders.
So that’s how she memorized the code. It’s a mnemonic.
You feel a rush of excitement. You begin to piece it together, muttering to yourself as you do.
“So it starts with 6. Gulliver had 6 travels. And it ends with 7,10,10,3,7, lights on? What the heck is lights on?..lets see, 10 is 2 digits, so that’s 8 numbers…out of 23! (There were definitely 23 beeps.) How can I get the rest? Did I hear any more words? No. If I had heard them I’m sure I’d remember them.”
You pace the cage, closing your eyes, to avoid watching the light. It won’t matter. When it changes it changes. Your mind is racing now, going over everything you heard. You find you’re able, with concentration, to play it back exactly, rewinding, moving forward, pausing over any sound you like. None of it is visual. You can remember what you saw of course, but not with such detail, such precision. It’s the sounds which you seem to have retained. Not just the words, but everything, the sound of Dan leaving behind you, the sound of Lorelei in the cage, breathing, muttering. You still can’t make out the words she muttered. You just didn’t hear those to begin with. You begin to whistle a little melody as you think it over. It strikes you as absurd, given what you can remember, that you can’t identify exactly what you are whistling.
You look up and the light is yellow.
When did that happen? How long has it been? You hear a hissing around you which is growing louder. Is it a gas? A poison gas? Is that what happens now? They’ve got to be kidding.
You move to the keypad and press the number 6. It makes a little beeping sound. “A,” you think to yourself, and whistle it back, following it up with the rest of the melody you’ve been whistling.
And that’s when you realize. 23 notes. You’ve been whistling the same 23 notes over and over. “You heard what I did.” Could you actually have memorized the tune based on once hearing the keypad buttons she pressed? You realize, playing it back, that you can. So A is six. The last 8 notes, you realize with pleasure are 7, 1,0,1,0,3,7,6. if each button is half a step away from the previous.
Lights on is 6? Whatever. You whistle the tune, pressing each key as you go. You stop whistling when you get to the last few and, instead yell out the clues as Lorelei did crescendoing in triumph. You laugh at the last one, realizing…Motel 6, lights on indeed.
You are laughing, having fun even, when the light turns green and the door to the cage swings open.
You stand looking at the open door, laughter drying up when you realize. The hissing sound continues and you still can’t leave, not without…
If only Dan were here, maybe you could get him to…
No, wait, you wouldn’t do that. Would you?