Alex arrives at his grandparents' house. He uses his key to enter the house. He walks into the living room. Eleanor is sitting at the computer playing a slot game. Alex walks up quietly and puts his hand on her shoulder. She jumps and turns to face him. Alex grins.
“Jesus! Don't do that,” Eleanor says.
“Sorry, where's Grandpa?” Alex says.
“He's in the office. He's messing with his radio stuff again.”
Alex goes to the office. He opens the door and sees his grandfather sitting in front of a radio setup. His grandfather turns to him.
“Hey buddy!” his grandfather says.
“Hey Grandpa. What are you up to?” Alex says.
“Oh, just messing around.”
“Find anything interesting? Last time I sat with you on this thing, all we found were guys telling dirty jokes.”
“Well, we did get some laughs,” Alex's grandfather says. “What were you hoping to hear?”
“I don't know,” Alex says. “Some interesting stories maybe?”
“Weren't you hoping we'd find some number stations?”
“Yeah. But you know, I've read more about number stations,” Alex says. “That kind of made me lose interest. I mean, I recall reading about one number station translation that was taken from some spies that got arrested. I think they were from Cuba. One of the messages was just them wishing everyone a happy International Women's Day. That kind of ruins the mystique, you know? Knowing that the creepy number reading might just be saying shit like that.”
“Hmm,” Alex's grandfather says. “I found one I think you might be interested in.” He reaches for a dial and turns it. “I found it about a month ago. Here it is.” He turns up the volume.
There is a brief crackling and then a voice comes through. It is low and distorted and repeats the same word over and over. “Ocho, ocho, ocho, ocho.” Alex makes a confused face at the radio. The voice continues. “Ocho, ocho, ocho ocho.” Alex looks at his grandfather who shrugs. “Ocho, ocho, ocho, ocho.” Alex mouths the word 'what' as he shakes his head. The voice keeps going. “Ocho, ocho, ocho, ocho.”
Alex's grandfather turns the volume down. Alex scratches his head.
“Was it like that when you found that station?” Alex says.
“Yeah. Just kept saying the same thing over and over again,” Alex's grandfather says.
“Doesn't say anything else? No jingle or anything like other number stations have?”
“Didn't hear anything like that whenever I tuned in to it. Just the world 'ocho' over and over again.”
“Christ, that's fucking creepy.”
“Yeah, don't know what to make of it myself.”
“I'm going to go use the bathroom.”
Alex exits the office and goes into the bathroom. He takes off his glasses and splashes water on his face. He rubs his eyes. He looks at himself in the mirror. “Jesus, that's just … “ he says to his reflection. He shudders and exits the bathroom.
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