Ghosts in the Shortwave, by Heather Flowers (2018)
The world we’re in is described not in words, but in the atoms of words–letters–and other symbols humans have derived to structure the same. Their minds, their communication, their connection to each other mediated through a set of 255 electronic symbols. The language of humanity transformed, defined the shape of the world. But humans themselves are nowhere to be found and their words have disasppeared.
Our world is bustling with life. The leaves of trees rustle in the wind, waves of M’s coursing through pound signs. Swaying grass and insects and birds. Against all this activity are features immovable. Equipment unequipped. Monuments to the dead. There’s something alive in their stillness.
Who is that?
Did humans have a language other than words?
What are we? We move fluidly, gracefully. We inhabit the world with everything that entails, our body, of course, rendered in ASCII characters like everything else. But what are we? Are we more of the flowers waving in the breeze or of the unmoving steel beams towering over the valley?
We are compelled onward, from one monument to the next.
A message. Words. Ghosts in the shortwave. Can we receive? Do we connect? Can we understand?