Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Screech - Earphone Horror


by Amurawaiye Adeyinka and Ikenna Osi

February 2008 

The music playing in his head was off tune. Yes, it was recognizable but it wasn’t right. It was high pitched and screechy. He removed his earphones from his ear. These earphones had a problem. It wasn’t new to him, so he went to his room and lay down to sleep. 

He visualized the movie characters in his head. His roommate must have started watching a film, if not he would still be deeply asleep by now. He stirred in his bed, as some character in the film screamed out in anger. Damn! His speakers were loud. Now he was pissed off. He subconsciously muttered a plea: 

“Dude, reduce the volume, its loud.” 
No response. 
He said it again and then his roommate replied: 
“Do you want me to put the volume on zero?” 

Later that day, he was in a friend’s room. His friend was listening to some music with an iPod. He stood at the far end of the room, yet he could hear the music playing. He couldn’t fathom why his iPod earphones were this loud…yes they were loud but he could hear the song so harshly. Forever, by Chris Brown. It seemed like the music came from the walls, and not the earphones. It surrounded him like a black veil of sweet confusion that arises from astonished ignorance. 

He left the room to get off the feeling. 
Silence, that was better. 

The next morning, he was in his school’s library, trying gently to get the weird happenings of the day before out of his head. He began reading an advanced book on Quantum Mechanics, hoping to get jaded and eventually fall to sleep. 

Just as the book started having effect, right there in the library, someone turned on some music. Quite secular. Very loud. Shayo, by Durella. The sound was deafening. He turned around. No one in the library seemed to notice. His heart skipped a beat, no way! They weren’t going to tell him they weren’t hearing that! At least someone else too must have turned... 
No one. 
Not a single soul had turned except him. Everyone just moved around like continuous space-time. He turned round again trying to look for the perpetrator. He had to be somewhere close with his laptop...what audacity! But he didn’t find anyone with a laptop around him. His heart skipped three beats and started pounding now. No, he wasn’t running. He wasn’t hearing things. This was not from his head. He stood up very shakily in fear. No, he had to find this guy. He had to convince himself he wasn’t mad. The music was as loud as ever. He tapped the person to his left: 

“Can’t you hear the music playing?” 
The person answered, quite startled: 

He moved from his seat very clumsily, making silly scraping noises with his table and chair. About three people stirred from their work. What? And they didn’t move when the music started? He walked swiftly around the library looking for the person. Some students were using laptops, but none of them had any music playing. He was nervy as he moved back to his seat. 

Just then, the music got little louder. He reflexed to the music source. He almost collapsed at what he saw. He shook his head, rejecting the things his eyes were telling him he was seeing. 

He carried his books and left the library in a haste, still shaking his head and denying the facts it was presenting to him...he had seen a guy with earphones! How possible was that? This wasn’t happening. He was going to sleep now and get the whole thing out of his head. 

He passed by a girl using earphones. It was as clear as digital. It was one of those songs Keri Hilson could have sung; he just didn’t know which one. His calming agitation took a herculean leap; his heart almost coming out of his nose. It was real. It was happening. He was going fanatical, and it was earphones that were making him so. He had suddenly (or overtime) developed an acute hearing for earphones and speakers alike. He passed by five people with earphones on his way back to his room. He recognized some of the music. He was new to some but they all seemed louder. 

The intensity of the sounds increased in a geometric progression. He realized in shock by the time he reached his hostel, that he could hardly pick up a distinct earphone sound. He looked around in panic; his pulse rate sky shooting. He didn’t feel the sweat tricking down his side, his heavy breathing, the booming in his ribcage initiated by his heart. There was not a person in sight using earphones but he was going insane with the music and movies, oh his favorite song, Love Stoned by Justin Timberlake, then…then…he couldn’t pick out the rest. 

He moved closer to his hostel. The different sounds were now like noise produced on a Sunday market; only it was a music and film Sunday market with each sales man displaying his wares by blasting his own type of music; creating a liberally nepotistic array of ear-splitting jargon. It was almost constant now, but it couldn’t be called music anymore. It was more like loud rushing water. Plenty humming bees. Jolly big shiny green flies. Clumsy chickens in a poultry farm. A noisy lecture room. A cricket ridden bush. A standing ovation. The wind blowing trees; and metal scraping metal all at the same time. The closer he moved to his room, the more unbearable it became. 

Now the whole thing was out of tune, spinning in the limbo version of cloud seven. Many colours. Many sounds. Uncontrollable rush. Pain. Severity. Gnashing of teeth. Demons. Many demons. More demons. The earphone demons. Pitch black. Void in forced screeching. Bursting screeching. Fork scraping metal. Many forks on metal. The sounds were searing into his mind, and very soon it would rupture, like a rind of lemon slicing through his timeline. Sour tasting sounds. Intense sourness. More demons. More torture. 

The devil himself. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A Cold Night

He woke up with a start feeling sweat on his skin. The night was cold, dark and breezy; the kind of night he loved, the leftover of hours of rainfall.

The room was silent and dark, save for the rythmic hums of breathing and soft snoring from the sleeping boys; and the intermittent squeak of the celing fan. He reached for his phone and switched on the light. His natural alarm clock had been accurate this time, as this was the exact time he was supposed to get up and study or mope around till he drifted back to sleep.

This had been his way of life since he moved into this room. Class, study, class, cafeteria, class, room, sleep. His life had overtime been reduced to a beautiful mechanical sequence; a sequence he loathed and feared; a sequence that mocked him. Life in this room had become a multitude of feelings; of mostly fear and boredom and anger and as he woke, the familiar feelings came rushing back, dancing in his face, choking him.

He looked around the room and slowly sat up, still half-awake. The room was still. Some beds were strewn together on the floor directly under the squeaking fan, while others lay on iron bunks. Across the beds lay boys with their laptops, iPads, smartphones, clothes and shoes, all meshed together and competing for space. His tired eyes scanned the room in a vague attempt to figure out what to do next and as he looked, his feelings of emptiness and dread intensified and he felt himself drifting back to sleep. Then he saw the fair boy strewn across a mattress to his left and he froze. It was him.

He recognised the boy and sat up, semi-awake, paralysed with fear and guilt. He sat still for a moment and his eyes darted quickly across the room. Save for the silent hum of the breathing boys and the squeaky music coming from the fan, the room was still. He looked at him again. The boy lay on his back on the bunk to his left and was fast asleep, breathing softly. His head was tilted slightly to the top and his lips were slightly parted and wet from traces of saliva. As he looked, he noticed again his fair slender body, the spotless innocence of his face, the sweat beads trickling down his eyebrows, and the feelings he had felt came rushing back in terror.

No, not again. What is this? He thought. His chest heaved, his ribcage boomed and beads of sweat escaped from his face. His sense of time slowly faded into the dark as he felt and counted the beating of the heart in his chest and the drops of sweat dancing on his body. His senses numbed as he realised he was still staring at this object of horror. He hated himself.

His breathing came in long gasps now as his gaze shifted, and observed his bible sitting among the rubble in the room. He felt an urgent need to leap at it and grasp it and enter it and swallow it. But then he turned and his eyes settled on the fair boy again, lying flatly on his bunk bed.

He first met Chibuzo when he moved into the room two days ago and had introduced himself to the "Squad of C201 Boys",  a social ritual that must be undertaken by all hostel freshers. Chibuzo had introduced himself as, and had been subsequently known to be the fair rich boy from the north with lots of provisions and gadgets, but then after shaking hands with him that afternoon, after feeling him, a feeling loomed; a feeling he could not shake off from his subconscious. For most of his adult life he had been aware of his changing moods and bizzare thoughts; and had fought overtime to suppress them, with the help of his religion and self-help books. But then once again someone had access to them; had pricked and prunned them; delicately caressed them to a point of unbearable quality, and now it had matured into a raging war between his emotions and his conscience.

He was sitting fully up now, sweating and staring at this boy, and wondering if he deserved to be alive. He looked around in panic; his pulse-rate skyshooting. He could feel his blood boil and his body collapse into an irresistible slump of defeat. He had a first impulse to hurl something at the boy; something to destroy the images that had taken over his mind; something to obliterate from his consciousness his troubling dilemma, and end this torture forever.

But once again his eyes met the eyes of the sleeping boy and he knew he couldn't do it. He wouldn't do it. No, not now. He thought. This was too much. He looked around the room and studied the other sleeping faces. Swiftly, he stood up, walked over some sleeping bodies and stooped beside the bed of the fair boy. Panic seized him. His emotions were a turbulent mix of fear, passion, guilt and lust. For a split second his natural clock stopped and time suspended. He stretched across the bed and met his lips.

The clock went on tick tick tick. The fan went on squeak squeak squeak. In the seconds that followed his mind was blank and filled with nothing but emptiness. For a split second he had an awful feeling that the fair boy knew what he wanted, and had wanted it too for he felt the boy return the kiss. The seconds stretched wide and seemed like forever. He seemed like a wide eagle that had been chained to a rock for thousands of years, finally set free and soaring across a cloudless sky; watching with awe, the blind curious creatures on the ground. He felt strong and whole and morbidly fascinated.

A sharp pain to his jaw jolted him back to reality. He felt his body rise and in two swift movements he felt himself crash to the floor with a thud. His head ached and he could not feel his jaw for a moment. He stood up shakily in fear, squinting across the black room at the looming mass coming towards him. A sleeping boy stirred in his sleep and for a moment he thought he saw a shadow coming towards his face. Slam. He was on the floor again. The looming mass walked past him and made for the door.

"Bastard". It said as it walked passed him, wiping what seemed to be its lips. For a moment he had a ridiculous urge to laugh, but was held back by the darkness and cold. "What the fuck, man. If you ever try that with me again I'll kill you. And I mean it." It said and walked out of the room.

He stood and looked around the room, confused. He lifted his phone and checked the time. It was nearly 4 am. Soon the sleeping boys would wake and inquire about the rustle they heard in the night. Slowly, very slowly, the full impact of what he had done seeped into his consciousness; draining him of energy and filling him with fear.

He packed a few belongings into a brown bag, put on a pair of jeans and a camo and left the room in a haste, still subconsciously denying the happenings of the chilly dark night. He had committed a taboo and he was in trouble. He had to get out of sight.

He walked down the hall, bounded down the stairs and walked out the gate of the hostel into the cold. Shortly after, he broke into a run. He could feel the wind on his face, and the rain in the distance.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

On Time as a Separately Observable Dimensional Body

Short note on Time as a Separately Observable Dimensional Body. Just another premature scientfic proposition, on the continual journey to the interesting Theory of Everything.


I have never been an advocate of theoretical assumptions or isolated mathematics so I will go straight to my point.

The Hafele-Keating Experiment with flying atomic clocks has been performed to prove the concept of time dilation. This means that, at least for now, we can accept the idea that time ‘slows down’ as it approaches the speed of light, c.

If time dilation is true, then this means (scarily), that relative to a stationary observer, time comes to a standstill while approaching c. So we can assume that c is the threshold for absolute relativity when considering a classical reference frame.

But when considering relativity, would it make sense to quantify speed objectively? Why should c be a threshold?

If I were moving in a car at 5m/s relative to a stationary observer on earth, and threw a ball at 5m/s, the observer on earth would see it move at 10m/s. If I released a pulse of light with speed c in the same car, the stationary observer would see it travelling with speed c. This is the point of the famous breakdown of Newtonian mechanics.

The stationary observer in the above example sees the body as travelling at 10m/s. But the body itself also sees the observer as travelling at 10m/s also. For only in our preferred reference frame, the hypothetical aether, would the speed of light be c.

The idea of picking out a reference frame is good, for classical calculations, but philosophically, it is weak. From geo-positioning and aerospace, to satellite mapping and sonar engineering, our understanding of the universe depends on the idea of ‘reference frames’. Everything that has to work has to account for special relativity, perhaps that is why so much attention has been given to the speed of light, and less attention given to the philosophy of speed itself.

I believe speed itself, a measure of distance with time, is an isolated, fleeting property; a property which could have dimensional implications, and form. I believe speed should not be treated with absolutism, and just like the well-accepted impossibility of determining the exact position of a particle in xyz space at every instant in time, the result manifesting in the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, I believe it is ‘much more impossible’ to determine the speed of a particle because speed itself is a dimensional property.

If I am stationary and you are moving at 2m/s, you could also be said to be stationary with me moving at 2m/s if we rotate the reference frame. And with the Michelson-Morley experiment backing up this claim and disproving the idea of a classical reference frame, then what indeed is stationary?

I could say that ‘distance’ is the only sensible variable in Newton’s first equation. You could always say a body is here or there, to some certainty at least, but speed isn’t. The time it takes to get a body from point A to point B could also be the ‘time’ it takes to get the body from point B to point A, with both bodies cross-referencing each other in each event.

I am saying that speed, a passive property of time, could actually have dimensional properties. Time could have measureable form, and be an isolated dimensional body, like space.

Conventional knowledge has it that time is the forth dimension of classical xyz space. I am saying that time is another observable dimensional body with possibly its own mechanics. Time affects space, with interaction mechanics, giving rise to passive properties like speed. Also, it doesn’t take much to realise from this that space does not affect time, but the other way round.

To properly model this new line of thought, algorithms would have to be developed for ‘Time Mechanics’, the study of Time and its interaction with matter and energy. Attention given to the classical studies of space-time interaction would have to be reversed to the study of ‘time-space interaction’ because interactions in Time could be responsible for the fuzziness of matter and natural systems. Time could also be the answer to the wave-particle paradox.


Ikenna Osi
University of Lagos