On the twelfth day they reached the top of the board. Glass began to
believe it was impossible, but yet, there they were, staring at the
place where the black slab of metal and screen and plastic and concrete
ended. It ended much like it began, with a square base stuck to girders
and wiring, knit together in mazes. But there was a top to it, an end, a
foreseeable, determinable end point.
More names had already appeared, a telephone and a puzzle book, and a snow board, and they still didn’t know what to do with them.
Glass didn’t do as much that day. There was something about the way the surroundings felt to her, up there. It didn’t seem quite right, all of it. Yet, she also felt the Noise made more sense to her now, so she kept sitting up there, seeing if she could try to make out what it said. It was almost words, almost audible, recognizable words.
Callous? Dear? Wish?
There were words in there that made sense, but the rest of it was just nonsense.
Wayside came over and said the others were looking for her, but she
said she wanted to stay a bit longer, and stayed even longer than that.
Cometh came up there—generally she disliked the Up Above, but she did anyway, and asked Glass what was wrong.
“I thought the top would hold answers,” she said.
“Yeah,” Cometh said. “A lot of us did. Come on down, let’s have a chat about what to do with the names.”
Glass was hesitant. She felt she was close. But she was also tired and frustrated. A rare feeling for her. So she wanted to ponder it alone.
Cometh didn’t want her to get lost. The Noise was louder up here, and
she didn’t like that. However, maybe they ought to use it, she thought.
She left and came back with From, who was not thrilled about the excursion. He had never been in the Up Above yet and this was as high as anyone had been up there. The Noise seemed deafening to him. Crushing. Soul-ending. Screeching.
“How can you live with this?” he said to Glass.
Glass shrugged. “It’s fine.”
“Fine? Sounds like hell. Literally,” he said and opened himself up to listen to it.
“It sounds like people screaming. It sounds like people who want something. Badly.”
Cometh stared at them.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Can I go down now?”
She glanced at Glass. Glass moved her arms. “That seems right. The words are wanting—as if they are missing some—” she paused, got a bright glare in her eyes and stared up at both of them.
“You know what?” she said. “Let’s give them what they want.”