Often when he was alone, Casolaro would hear strange sounds. The humming and whirring that a computer might make. At home, different hotels in different cities. He’d be going over his notes, working on his book when he would stop his own noises of pen moving across paper, the click-clacking of the typewriter, and hear the sound. I’m just hearing stuff, he thought, maybe there’s something wrong with my ears, maybe it’s mind residue from Computer Age. Sometimes in a hotel room, paranoid and running low on sleep, he’d throw down his pen and move his ear against the wall, up and down, left and right, a spider fleeing an incoming boot.
The sound gained in strength as he got closer to the truth, closer to his death. The phantom computer seemed to be calculating more equations, algorithms—perhaps it was artificial intelligence, gaining in sentience. He had to abandon a strategy he’d developed—listen to music on headphones—because he was afraid he wouldn’t hear someone coming to kill him.
He’d lie awake at night, still hearing the humming and whirring, the ongoing tick of the clock marking time, propelling him into the future.