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Sing the City

Title: Sing the City
Author: ciaranbochna
Length: 505 words

Warnings: Disturbing imagery
A/N: Something begun on Samhain in a favourite art-filled coffee shop.

At first it is a hush. The prelude to something, but he isn’t sure exactly what.

Then it becomes one continuous tone. Not precisely speech. It is drawn out—crawling toward an idea he can’t yet understand.

The first short piercing sounds make him spill tea all over his oak table. The hours spent polishing it wasted now. It is hard to hold the teacup when his hand won’t keep still. He thinks the sound is a bird. But then he remembers.

Last night the phrase startled him so badly it took him an hour to clean up the bathwater he was soaking in. The floor was a terrible mess. He was sure he shouldn’t be hearing anything like that while submerged, but there you are.

Today there is a wire wrapped around his throat, filling him with shards, spirals, choking stones. They carve his throat with repetition.

He misses the absence at midnight, the bare hum of electricity at noon, the rustling of thousands of sheets as dawn approaches. This new thing is burning pathways through his skull, etching itself under his skin. It is agonizing. Now his vision blurs. His breathing is short….

He wakes up on the kitchen floor with an aching lump on the back of his head. He decides not to go outside today. Whatever food he has will be enough until tomorrow.

His city is built on silence. This--thing. It is anathema, and he wants it gone. Tonight he will have soup again. The lingering sounds follow him from room to room. It is so hard to sleep. He wakes several times, convinced there is another in the room, holding his arms down while pouring light into his cracked ribs.

He can hear his closest neighbour crying day and night. He wants to go to her, but doesn’t know why. He nearly prefers the sound nattering away behind his eyes, whispering from the corner of every room, the floor, the plates of his skull. Everything in the same…key? There was a book once, cover rotted away. Tiny black dots over lines on a page. Familiar.

After a few days his neighbour falls silent. He is almost relieved until his eyes burn and won’t stop weeping. The sound of his own steps and the infernal thing---he can’t. His skin starts to bleed with the noise. Today he can’t eat. He suspects it has been that more than one day but…things are complex. Shifting.

The city is quiet once more. But all he hears is the storm. His blood. The air. The sun burning his cheeks. Not sure where he is…doesn’t matter. His eyes have swelled shut. He opens his mouth and knows the signature. The way through. His voice is a limping shattered thing, but it will suffice.

The glorious chants and song call him every moment. The city shivers around him, responding to the cascading song. He hears another voice nearby. Someone else who knows. Welcomes the return. They will teach the others. To be open and welcoming. Sing.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 2nd, 2013 10:33 am (UTC)
This has so many levels of creepyancientfamiliar it's astounding. Very well done.
Nov. 2nd, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I began as the return of music to a silent city, but I always meant it to be disturbing;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )