gates_icon.gif unknown_icon.gif

Scene Title OHMS
Synopsis Ω
Date June 16, 2020

An electric buzz emits from a box on a concrete wall and all the lights mounted in the ceiling flicker.

The box stops buzzing, the lights go back to normal and the moths circling around them return.

A scuffed metal door with a faded coat of red paint clicks with the disengagement of an automatic lock. It opens a moment after, and a man in a dark suit slowly enters from a lightless corridor.

Agent Gates stares vacantly ahead, a rectangular badge of black metal clipped to the lapel of his suit reflects an oil-sheen of chromatic colors under the fluorescent lighting.

Gates closes the door behind himself, then pauses and looks at his shoulder. There’s a drop of moisture soaking into the fabric, and Gates looks up at the ceiling where a rivulet of water follows a hairline crack in the concrete, collecting into a droplet. He stands there, transfixed as the droplet grows larger, wobbles, and eventually falls and lands in precisely the same spot on his shoulder.

Only then does Gates step away from the door.

Geographic Region Redacted

June 16th
7:01 am

An unlit room is suddenly flooded with light with the touch of a single switch. The ten by ten concrete-walled room comes into sharp focus as rows of ceiling-mounted fluorescent lights come on row-by-row until barely a shadow is cast in the room. All that furnishes the space is a single gray fabric-covered armchair with a low back, Swedish in design, and a large console-style CRT television with a mantle clock sitting atop it on a lace doily. The clock has no hands on it, save for the second hand, which tracks around at a normal pace.

Agent Gates steps away from the shut door, with its water-streaked metal surface contrasting sharply with the sterile quality of the space. His footsteps echo across the concrete floor until he comes up beside the chair. Agent Gates looks from the chair to the television and back again, then slowly walks in a clockwise circle around the chair with his hand on the back. When he completes the revolution, he discovers that there was an end table beside the chair the whole time with a red rotary phone sitting atop it along with a boxy TV remote and a glass of scotch on a cocktail napkin. Gates smiles, then settles down comfortably in the chair.

Picking up the remote, which only has one button, Gates turns on the television to static. He then sets the remote down, picks up his drink and takes a sip from it, then glances sidelong at the napkin. Under his glass, framed in by the ring of condensation on the paper, is a phone number scrawled in smudged ballpoint: (516) 261-2342. Gates sets down his drink beside the napkin, then picks up the phone and dials the number one turn of the rotary dial at a time.

The line ring, and gates turns his attention to the static on the television. "Gates here," he says into the receiver when someone on the other line picks up.

«Are you available for a quick case review?» A distorted voice on the other end of the line asks.

"Yes, I'm in my office," Gates says back with a quick glance to the television. "What do you have for me?"

The television pops from static to show a paused clip of what looks like a burned film reel. Gates angles his head to the side, one brow raised and gives it his full attention. The video begins to play and the sound of electric distortion and instrumentation, primarily heavily distorted electric guitar, floods the room from all sides.

On the screen, there are images of musicians in black and white silhouette by light. A quick flash of a face traced with hairline, orange cracks in black skin, and a cave flooded with oversaturated orange light with a robed figure standing silhouette at the cave mouth. Quick flashes of a city street, images of the cave as picture-in-picture over some kind of rocky forest, a flash of something too quick for Gates to make it out, and then back to the musicians focusing on the drummer as those instruments kick in.

Gates is silent as he watches, as more images of musicians in a band flash across the screen, followed by other split-second glimpses of a cityscape and a robed figure walking through them. Then there is a quick shot of a robed woman walking backwards in a saturated, orange landscape, and it cuts briefly to the band and the cave again. As the guitar calms and begins a steady rhythm, there is a panning shot of some sort of hovering machine with a gleaming red light at its front, connected by multiple power lines to nearby buildings. Gates' mouth opens and one eye narrows, his head tilting to the other side.

It's the imagery of an abandoned building full of vegetation with graffiti of a pair of eyes on the wall that makes Gates sit forward in his seat, still holding the receiver to his ear, curled cord taut. More quick flashes of someone's face, film grain and analog video artifacts while the instrumentation continues. When he thinks he's seen everything, the vocals kick in.

We're surrounded

By debris of the past

Gates sits up straight, eyes wide as he sees that abandoned building with the graffiti now occupied by a robed figure. He squints, upper lip curling in confusion. There's more quick flashes of the band and that cityscape, including the hovering machine tethered with power lines. He's rapt; he can't look away.

And it's too late

To cause a change in the tides

"Oh my," Gates says out loud, watching as a close-up of a stone face is revealed with hairline cracks of gold running through it. He braces as more imagery of the same type as before flashes by, including a close up of the eyes graffiti on the wall. There's numerous shots of the eyes, of the stone face, all intercut with images of the band playing the song.

So we slip into

Our hopeless sea of regret

The cave is shown again with the camera doing a dolly shot backwards away from the opening and the robed figure bathed in gold light. Gates tucks the receiver between his shoulder and his chin, gabbing his drink and downing it in a single swallow before setting it back on the end table. He watches the robed figure walking through that city street and he sits forward, trying to pick out geographic details. When it cuts back into the abandoned building overgrown with plants, with that robed figure walking through it, Gates squints again and shakes his head.

As I stare

More flashes of analog video artifacts and that stone face, but this time its pulled back to reveal a whole bust. Gates can't make out an identity, but he tries.


The haunted maze in your eyes

Now the robed figure is standing atop an abandoned train car, staring into the cityscape. Gates shifts uncomfortably in his seat, retrieving the receiver back into his hand again as he watches the video. When the sky turns from a hazy gray to red, silhouetting everything in black he sucks in a sharp breath through his teeth and grimaces intensely.

Right through

Where I'll remain for all time

More flashes of the city, of the trainyard, and this time he can see that the robed figure is the same as the person made of stone. They're shown in profile walking behind the derelict boxcars amid more video noise, a quick flash of a pattern of red and black with a triangular wedge in it, and the trainyard bathed in golden light.

And time won't change this

This promise we made

The intensity of the glitches in the video grow, now showing smears of red digital noise and flashes of trees and hilly, indistinct landscapes intercut with the band playing the song. Gates starts slowly shaking his head, "Oh, this is… this is…" More intercut images of glitches and the city, images of the band, an upside-down frame of the railyard.

Yeah, time won't change this

It's how it'll stay

"Sir," Gates says, looking away from the screen to the phone, "were we able to intercept this?" He asks as the music focuses on distorted guitar with more distressing imagery. Gates glances back at the screen when he sees an image of a cityscape with cars and stone debris hovering weightlessly in the air and his voice is nearly stolen from him by the sight.

«No, it was released wide this morning in the UK.»

Gates sits back in his seat, head in his hand. "Jesus Christ." He says, tiredly, as the video shows a giant pair of hands reach out from a cave in a shrouded sky.

This is our time

We devour the days ahead

This time there's a cut to a much more feminine figure in a robe in some sort of arid landscape. Gates sits forward again, clicking his tongue. "What do we know about the musicians, the writer, the cinematographer, and director."

«Negatives.» The distorted voice on the other end of the phone says. «We have reason to believe they may have used lyrics and notes from the late precognitive writer Else Kjelstrom.»

"Oh." Gates says softly, wiping sweat from his brow.

We've been possessed

By these changing times

The voice on the other end of the line says something, but Gates is distracted by the video showing a rough landscape with sparse trees, boulders floating in the air, and the silhouette of a woman in a long, red robe walking through the landscape. He opens his mouth to talk but only a deep sigh comes out. When the image inverts without the robed figure in it, soon superimposed by the graffiti of eyes he slouches to the side on his elbow, cradling the phone to his ear.

As we slip on through

We promised to meet again


More images of the robed woman, an arid landscape lit by a sunset, flashes of the band and quick, distressing imagery. Those triangular patterns in red appear superimposed over the band again, and Gates closes his eyes and hangs his head for a moment, looking very tired.


The haunted maze in our minds

Now the city with floating cars is shown again, except this time some of the floating cars are held by gigantic hands. Gates opens his eyes and looks up at the screen with a put-upon expression. "Do we have any special containment procedures in place? Or— is there nothing we can do at this point?"

Right though

Where we shall remain for all time

«The video already has over five-hundred thousand views.» The voice on the other end of the line says, eliciting an even deeper sigh from Gates. He was going to ask something, but stops when the video shows a grayscale shot of the woman in the long robe walking up a flight of concrete stairs. Gates' back straightens and his jaw sets, teeth drawing over his lower lip a moment later.

Yeah, time won't change this

This promise we made

"The implications of this…" Gates starts to say before realizing he isn't even sure how to frame them.

«I know.» The voice on the other line says.

Gates watches as the female robed figure appears in the video again, in that same sparsely forested terrain, standing in front of a stone monument of some kind. He shakes his head, massaging forefingers and thumb at the bridge of his nose. There's more quick flashes of faces, the band, and then a massive fish flies into view with a single eye glowing like a searchlight. Gates clenches his jaw again, and sees imagery of a wetland with a set of concrete stairs rising up out of it and the woman in the red robe ascending the stairs. Then she's in black and white, meeting the other robed figure.

"This is… do we think there's an infection risk here?" Gates asks, glancing to the phone and back to the screen, just in time to see one of the robed figures depicted in a dimly-lit building with a Japanese-style stone lantern in the foreground. "I'm going to imagine yes."

«We're still analyzing the specifics.»

The assault of imagery during the guitar solo almost feels subliminal. Gates watches as flashes of some sort of river canyon are shown with a cherry blossom tree in it. Both of the robed figures are there in color this time, one dressed in red and one dressed in monochromatic colors. Then it's upside down, then more shots of the giant hands holding cars in the air. Flashes of the band, of water, lily pads, analog noise, someone standing by a cave entrance, photo negatives, a giant wolf running in slow-motion through a forest.

When the montage ends with the two robed figures standing face-to-face in front of the tree as the camera dollies back away from them and the music winds down, Gates slouches back into his chair and shakes his head.

"What do we do?" Gates asks.

«To be determined. But we need to retrieve those notes first and foremost.»

Gates nods, watching the video end. He reaches across himself and grabs the remote, turning the television off. "I'll get right on it, sir."

«Thank you.» The voice on the other end of the line says as the phone goes dead. Gates stands from his chair, setting the receiver back down on the hook. He draws in a slow breath through his nose, then circles around the front of the chair and walks back to the metal door and grips the handle. He closes his eyes, feels a droplet of water hitting him on the shoulder. He turns, looks down to the spot of moisture soaking into the fabric and shuts the door.

There is a single word painted on the door, crisp lines of black on red. As much a description as a warning.


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