Snow squelch, glistening glacial droplet drip from the blizzard-brushed leg bristles. Shiver, slashing razor through grey tanglewire, parting his faces. The matted visage of fetid follicle falls sinkwards and drowns beneath a froth of water. Terrible phantoms proliferated their manipulation of meat through the mirror: puckering pocks, crevices and cracks. Each crater coalescing into character. He left his other self in the drain, traced a battered palm across his shaven face and trudged towards his perch by the telescope. Snow sluiced from groaning roof, seemingly sighing as it began turning to allow the radio telescope her sight. Routine long established, he opened his flask and drained Darjeeling before adjusting the coordinates and peering towards Cygnus. Right ascension 19h 15m 12.7s, declination +48°, 53′ 4.1”, nothing new of note. The creeping sense of futility becoming more prevalent, overcoming youthful optimism as uneventful years amassed as surely as the snow.
Nestled in the high Himalayan homestead, gazing to the heavens, convinced contact would provide clarity. A maddening quiet echoing about the mountains, audio amplified by absence. Right ascension 19h 15m 13.7s, declination +48°, 53′ 5.6” by now, listening to nothing again. Sisyphus would baulk, but he persistently pushed percipience. Knowledge, always an endless endeavour. Strong stony palms stroked slightest stubble as soporific seconds slid the sundial.
He glanced at glazed recollections: the printed photographs of Mama and Papa stapled to the cubicle wall. Guilt glid towards his eyes, tear-drops tumbling to tufts of facial fuzz. He yearned for their guidance, lusted for learning that had never been forthcoming. Their tremulous lives truncated by perfunctory projectiles, booming explosions and bullets tearing through tender flesh scant years into his existence. Perhaps they would have elucidated him on his heritage. Alas, no matter. Right ascension 19h 17m 10.7s, declination +48°, 53′ 10.1”. Sibilant silence whistling through whipping snow. He resolved that he would find meaning in the stars, seeking progenitors amongst pulsars, no matter the verdant vacuum and unresponsive equipment. Dense digits explored dials, eliciting dismissive beeps and boops from boxes bloated with myriad microchips. They laboured as hard as he, without complaint or constrictive conjecturing. He marinated a moment in existential envy of electronics.
Without resolution, free of finality, can my sanity be sustained by snow and search? Without suggestion of sentience outside the bounds of Earth? Do I reach towards rescue or revelation?What matter too, my silent vigil, without peers or recognition? Is it arrogance to revel in my anachronistic existence, or arrogance to crave assimilation? He no longer knew. It mattered not: the alarm had began to beep. Silver stalks of hair had rediscovered that battered face en masse. 2000 meters. It was time. He stomped outside listlessly and ate the pixelated skier again.
Inside the tower the screens flickered into life, with nobody recording, and a voice pinging across time and space from a PC screen uttered: