A scream! I rushed up the alley towards the yellow light oozing through the mist, pulling my greatcoat around me. As I neared, a man stumbled into me, clutching at a bloody wound in his stomach.

He clenched my collar in his hand and wheezed, "It's going up... in... flames!"

As he fell to the ground, he pressed a piece of paper into my hand.

Going up in flames

I grabbed him, lowering him gently, and shouted for help. But he was already dead. What message was he carrying?

Decode the hidden message

Clue 1:

Text is just for flavor. Message is in the image. There's three components that need explanation.

Clue 2:

Draw a pencil mark around the groupings of the squiggles and look at it from different angles.

Clue 3:

These are the pencil marks I had in mind in clue 2
Going up in flames with pencil marks

It's funny how hard it is to judge how hard a puzzle will be.

Clue 4:

As has been pointed out, there's an SOS grouping in morse. But the use of morse is, itself, a hint...

Clue 5:

There's more than one morse message in the image.

Clue 6:

The whole drawing is one long line. If you were walking the path it makes, you would come to a sequence of points. From that point, you would go back, either to your left or your right...

Clue 7:

Running from the top right to the bottom left. Here's the text:

  • $\begingroup$ Is it supposed to have many rot13(P)’s, or am I reading it wrong? $\endgroup$
    – Krad Cigol
    Nov 9, 2019 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ Lol. The message is not JJJJJJJ...! $\endgroup$
    – Dr Xorile
    Nov 9, 2019 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ Any more hints? $\endgroup$
    – Ébe Isaac
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Does it have something to do with rot13(erzbefr)? $\endgroup$
    – Ébe Isaac
    Mar 11, 2020 at 18:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It has been 3 years and still unsolved. Guess you can just share us the answer, @DrXorile. $\endgroup$
    – Ébe Isaac
    Nov 21, 2022 at 4:51

3 Answers 3


I'm pretty sure it's

(1) a cut of a picture from Warming Stripes and (2) the flame patterns hints at the rising temperature as well. For the third component, I have no idea yet.

  • $\begingroup$ 1 is correct and hints at the theme of the hidden message. 2 is a kind of bonus (I counted it as part of 1 because it's also a theme hint). There's another high level image thing that points towards the detailed message. $\endgroup$
    – Dr Xorile
    Jan 6, 2020 at 14:39

My guess is

As in calling for help, in Morse code.
As hint 3 suggest, the image shows 3 dots, then 3 dashes, then 3 dots again, which is Morse code for S O S.
As suggested in @gripe's answer, the warming stripes combined with the SOS message probably refers to the global warming.

  • $\begingroup$ You're right so far. But those are 2 elements. But they are clues to the main message $\endgroup$
    – Dr Xorile
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:56

I seem to see

three figures with hands, feet, tails and heads standing side-by-side.

Not sure if this is correct or what it means.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.