Glass came back and insisted they move the tower—their elevator that had been in the board hall ever since they made it first. The others were hesitant, unsure why she wanted to move it so badly, but she argued they had other ways to the Up Above now, there was no reason to keep it there.
Eventually, she had to tell them, either because she did or because they followed her to the hole she had found in the faraway tunnel, and then a large-scale tower-moving operation began, with almost everyone involved.
Meanwhile, Glass heard about the switch and the board, and went back to see the towering names, the hundreds and hundreds of them up there, and seeing them stretch up to infinity, she realized what the Up Above was used for. They had already had the hunch, but it had felt rather superfluous with the board never reaching higher than what they could reach.
Song was leading the charge as well, and stayed in the tunnel, lifting up the pieces as they came, aided the hammerers and the fitters with their job, and slowly, they built a wonky staircase up the metal tube.
They were thinking about the board, at least some of them were, they were thinking about the connection between the noise and the board, about the meaning of the Silence in a world that seemed to be only Noise—all they could see out there was noise, static, criss-crossing unevenness, contradictions and improbabilities, mushed into a whole they defined as the outside. What they had been shielded from, they realized. What the Silence had hid from them.
For good and bad.
The tower completed quickly, because they were efficient and used to working together by now, and had all the tools from last time and all the know-how from twenty days of being alive, and that was all they needed. When they stood up there, at the edge, leaning out into the freezing, freezing cold, they stopped.
Snow hurled in their face, thunderous, powerful snow littered the landscape and made it hard to see anything but noise; noise in the way snow forms, noise in the way it darts through the air, chaotically flittering about into their face and into the walls; noise in the clouds they couldn’t see because of it; noise in the ground they had no idea where was because it was as if the snow covered it.
“So, what do we do, now?” Wayside asked.
“We go out,” Song said.
“Are you crazy?” From said, “look at it; what’ll you do out there? There’s nothing.”
“There’s everything, don’t you understand?” Song said.
“We have everything here. You saw the cameras. What more do we need?”
“Need? It was never a question of need. I want to know what’s out there.”
Glass looked at them. “We might not be able to come back. We can’t see how far down it is here.”
“We can make ropes. That’s solvable,” Song said.
“Maybe. I’m not sure,” Glass said.
“Whatever, you guys are wrong,” they said.
And then Song jumped.
See the other days here.
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