Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fiction: Night Sounds

Sometimes at night, when I can hear the patter of light rain on the roof, I close my eyes and I listen.  In the darkness, the rain becomes a multitude of whispers for my ears only. I use the voices of the dead to find things; lost artifacts, jewelry, the occasional dead body.  So far it's been a decent living, mostly because I seem to be the only one around who has this ability.  Tonight I'm listening for chatter that will tell me the next step, but the voices are also a comfort, in the darkness.

At least I'm never really alone.

Our dead have departed this earth, we are told. They are in heaven. While the idea of heaven is wonderful, most of the departed prefer to remain with their families.  The dead that are able to stay, do.  They want to protect us. At the moment of death, all the dead can see what is out there in the darkness, waiting.  Whatever it is, it terrifies them.

The voices of the dead are unceasing.  Most humans can hear those voices if they try, but many just stop listening in order to protect their sanity.  They must tune those whispers out, dismiss what they heard as imagination, or lose their minds.  Because the dead never stop talking. Most don't say much of importance, of course. Some are downright boring.  Still, I make time to listen to what they say, because it's my job.

I've heard dead voices since the day I was born, and believe me, that got old fast.  The dead don't care that a living being might not want to discuss the Crash of '29, or that humans might actually want to hear normal conversation from each other.  I'd yell at them, but it wouldn't do any good: the dead never stop talking long enough to listen.

Thankfully, I've learned to tune them out most of the time; I would have gone mad long ago.  I have learned to focus on the voice I want, and to screen out the rest, but occasionally the constant chatter overwhelms me.

I pause my reverie suddenly and sit up in bed, reaching for the small iron cross that I wear at all times.  I heard something, and my mind tries to zero in. A small voice among the chorus running through the rain has snagged my attention. A young one, struggling to be heard above the din of older, and louder, voices.

"Quiet for a moment, please." I say this aloud in the darkness, and the dead surrounding me lower their litanies for a second, allow me to focus on that small voice. The image of a young girl, barely ten years old, springs into my mind. I remember reading about her murder in the newspaper of the last town I passed through. She is on the verge of hysteria, being newly deceased, determined to be heard.

"It's coming!" She screams at me from the edges of my awareness. "It's coming! IT'S COMING!"

A frission of fear skitters over me.  What's coming? 

The prompt: "I close my eyes and I listen." and/or "iron"

Not sure what direction this is headed.  Any concrit is welcome.


  1. OH Tina, I enjoyed this very much. It moved at a good pace and it was good storytelling, engaging me and then setting us for the extraordinary.

    As for concrit..I wonder if you need "Hold on"..instead I think if you left it as "I ask her, a frission of fear skittering over me. "What's coming?" as if you are asking the darkness and not necessarily her.

    or leave it as it and move What's coming to a new line to punch it up. To have us as scared as she is, as unsure.

    Great story!

  2. I echo Kir, I really enjoyed reading this and your dangling ending makes me want more. One thing - you say the dead never stop talking, but then later they pause when your character wants to hear the little girl. A minor rub.

  3. I sure hope you're wrong. I had a mother-in-law who never stopped talking when she was alive. If she's ramped up her efforts now that she's dead I'm in trouble. This was an excellent piece, kind of in the style of Stephen King.

  4. What's coming?! Love that ending. I want to know more.


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