Episode 19: NoS
We are NoS. Bastian’s silence ripped vicious currents through the ears of his followers. Silent screams to bloody ear drums in fully naked attempts at listening to the only voice that made any sense, regardless of the fact that the voice had disappeared into the firmament. Gone, but still as burning hot as the sun to the invisible ones.
In a few days, Bastian’s followers would make their mark on a cluttered canvas. To be seen as the invisible ones see. Blue.
Blue Universe was an abandoned ship adrift with no captain. Just another website that closed it virtual doors, its digital fingerprint to remain like scars on the skin. Blue Universe was the rudder when there was a need for direction. Now, each one would take to the canvas, exactly at the same time, and each brilliantly visible light would be seen by everyone who barely acknowledged their existence – and visible to each other.
A small gesture compared to the layers of noise spliced in with big horrors and tragedies. The gesture would probably capture fleeting attention spans for a news cycle or two. But it would be a NoS creation, NoS would be seen. They would have to ask, what does it all mean? Who is NoS? Why?
Blue goggles wearing people were showing up at seemingly random places in cities and suburbs alike, sometimes alone, other times with two or three wearing the same goggles. A crowded street corner, a mall, a ballet performance, a political campaign tour, in front of the headquarters of a fortune 500 company, an art exhibit, a quiet residential street, and several high profile attractions and landmarks. The subtle interruption to the norm began to draw attention, causing chatter on the new social. Curious bystanders shared photos of the odd people with the strange taste in eyewear, quickly becoming evident there was no isolated incident. Comments to the photo posts, I saw one too. More photos were shared from all over the country with a few photos from Ontario, Paris and Madrid.
The places were not selected at random. They meant something to each of the invisible ones. Sources of pain, representations of the lost, the last place they were that felt real on that collectively important date.
We are NoS. Each took on the label with pride now that the original name bearer was gone. Each had it tattooed on the right forearm in unique and individualistic ways, one of the many agreed upon steps outlined in the manifesto.
Micah went by the user name PaintedMe when Blue Universe was full of life, because once upon a time he put paint to empty walls and subway cars in the late hours by flashlight. The last moment that felt real to him, on that fateful date that all of NoS held hallowed, was running from the police before completing his most ambitious mural. His NoS tattoo used a signature style of graffiti lettering that was unique to the art that donned the city landscape years ago, when he was already worlds above in artistic talent – when he was just sixteen.
The others had stories too, the special date permanently etched in their minds like the NoS tattoo to the forearm. Micah thought about the others in the days leading up their outing, how they all could pinpoint the moment of being disconnected, as if someone or something pulled a plug. Or as if the invisible ones were once part of a complex computer code, and a few zeros and ones were eliminated that made them completely incompatible with the bigger program.
Micah studied his hands, which looked like a grand illusion crafted by a magician, because they were not his. ‘Look at your hands, Micah?’ If it was a masterful trick, that is what the magician would say after choosing Micah from the audience. ‘These are your hands, right?’ An absurdly humorous question that would certainly be followed by a wink at the audience in the darkened theater where the only light shined on the magician and the unsuspecting volunteer. Then the magician would place a silk handkerchief over Micah’s hands, recite a few meaningless nonwords, and wave a fake wand. Then he would remove the handkerchief to show that Micah’s hands were replaced with another’s. Micah’s face would show utter shock, the crowd would be in awe, and the magician would ask the room to give the volunteer a big round of applause. Smoke and mirrors. Tricks of light. Susceptibility to clever convincing. Magic.
‘NoS were real,’ Micah thought. ‘We had to be. Otherwise, what was the alternative.’