Natsuki Kimura

Natsuki Kimura
Urayasu, Japan
June 21
I live in a country known for its many earthquakes; I live 200 kilometers away from three smoldering nuclear reactors; my father saw the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki as a boy; I watch movies with titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gattaca; I read books with titles like Trout Fishing in America and In Our Time; I make collages about my wife and show them in Tokyo galleries; I spend weekends writing about nukes, aliens, vampires, and love child Vulcans.


Natsuki Kimura's Links

FEBRUARY 8, 2013 3:02PM

Short Story: Numbers Station

Rate: 6 Flag

Four, eight, seven, five, nine.

Two, zero, eight, one, three.

It would go on like that. Random numbers, read by a gentle female voice, over shortwave.

Zero, seven, four, one, six.

Six, eight, three, six, five.

I first discovered the numbers station when I had accidently switched the Grundig from AM to shortwave. The signal wasn't strong and it wavered, but it sounded like Anne.

Anne had left me a year before that. I didn't even know where she lived. I still don't.

Eight, five, two, three, nine.

Four, six, seven, eight, zero.

They say numbers stations are run by governments to send messages to spies. Apparently, they are encoded in a way that cannot be decoded easily, so what the messages mean are a mystery.

Seven, zero, five, two, four.

Four, eight, six, nine, three.

I'd sit and listen to the broadcasts, thinking it was read by Anne. When the broadcast wasn't on the air, I'd listen to a cassette recording over and over.

Zero, seven, one, nine, three.

Three, four, nine, one, eight.

This went on for months. I didn't have a job then, so I had plenty of time. As long as I could hear Anne read random numbers in sets of five, it felt like she was with me again.

Nine, three, eight, two, zero.

One, five, two, eight, three.

Seven, six, zero, five, one.

Five, eight, two, three, nine.

It ended with a phone call, just after the number station had gone off the air and I'd turned off the Grundig.

My phone never ringed then and its ringing almost felt violent.

I picked up the phone.


I almost dropped the phone when I heard Anne's voice.

Three, two, one, six, eight.

Five, eight, zero, seven, nine.

Six, four, three, five, seven.

One, nine, seven, three, zero.

A minute or so of random numbers was followed by silence.

Anne? Is that you?

There was a squelch, followed by the ring tone.

That ring tone was the most godawful sound I'd heard in my life.

Not long after that I moved to a different city and found a job. It wasn't much of a job, but I would have something to do. And after a while I started seeing a woman, somebody I met at work.

I no longer think of Anne that much. If I ever see her on the street, I might say hello but that would be it. There really isn't anything else that I could say to her.

And hey, I found that Grundig a few days ago. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it didn't receive shortwave.

Six, eight, three, two, five.

Four, seven, nine, one, zero.

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Type your comment below:
Eerie. I like things that are hidden in numbers, white noise, blizzards and chaos....
here's a sample of what a numbers station sounds like (in this case the the "lincolnshire poacher," which is thought to be a british government station sending messages out to real 007's out in the field):

you can read all about numbers stations here:
hello zanelle:

i've always liked secrets and spooks. many are beamed to japan. i always wonder what trenchcoat folks do on these islands.

hello Trudge164:

thanks! now that i've written my numbers station story, my next story will be about the enigma.
I too have a Grundig. It does receive short-wave.....

one, seven, seven, three, nine........


Loved this story. The last paragraph caught me by surprise. Wonderful!