The sound tickled just beneath Clara’s ears, almost subsonic in its depth. She worked her jaw to relieve the pressure, but it didn’t help much. She turned her attention back to the photograph, desperately seeking any reason to label it a hoax.
A bell rang in the next room, startling her away from her studies. Clara rose to check on the brownies. They were done to a perfect chewy toughness, just the way she liked them. She grabbed a bag of candy from the counter and methodically pushed a caramel into the center of each brownie square. By the time the brownies were cool enough to cut and plate, the caramels would be perfectly gooey.
She left dessert unattended on the kitchen counter and returned to her home office. Her head twitched to the right, then back to center. That sound again. She gritted her teeth and sat down at her desk. She would have laughed aloud if that sound weren’t setting all of her nerves on edge. So irritating. And only in here, while she’s trying to work.
Clara gave up for the day, closing her files and returning to the kitchen for a brownie and a nice tall glass of milk.
Denayra paused as a faint sound caught the corner of her ear. It was gone now, and did not repeat itself. What was that? Some sort of soft scratching, like insects in the walls.
Mystery noises were in Denayra’s top ten pet peeves, but she knew there wasn’t really anything she could do about them. She hoped that time would fade the chill down her spine.
She opened her closet and rifled through the collection of bright tops and bottoms. Tonight was her sister’s bachelorette party, and Denayra wasn’t close to ready. Finally, her fingertips grazed a blouse she’d nearly forgotten about–the deep red would look amazing next to her freshly colored dark mane. Skinny jeans and strappy heels–in gold leather, of course–would complete the outfit, plus accessories.
Denayra smiled to herself as she stepped out of her sweatpants, amused by the thought of her baby sister getting married, but her face fell when the small noise repeated itself.
Of course it waited until I’ve given up listening, she thought to herself. That’s what scares people.
It took a much larger effort this time to move past the recurrence, but she made it as she moved on to her dresser to pick through her jewelry box. She smiled again, remembering the family friend who had gifted it to her when she was a teenager: she always had sunflower seeds, she only wore Birkenstocks, and she laughed too loudly. Denayra had always admired the woman’s self-confidence. It radiated from her like stink from a wet dog.
She bowed her head, concentrating on the search for the elusive black opal earrings. Another chill washed over and through her; Denayra froze, amethyst in hand. Again she heard the sound–the whisper-soft marching of a thousand tiny legs, the bloated-belly feasting of a thousand tiny teeth, the paper-thin tickle of a thousand tiny fingers.
The party wasn’t even a vague memory anymore; nor was her sister, the family friend, or her jewelry box.
The whisper cleared into words:
“Come to me, Denayra,” it caressed the inner workings of her ears with its velvety richness.
“Come to me now. My soul demands it.”
20 minutes writing, 8 minutes transcribing and editing. And I pick #42.
Day 10: Write about something for which you feel strongly.
You know what I feel strongly about? Nuts.
I feel super strongly about peanuts. I’m pretty sure that the absolute worst sound in the history of the universe is the sound of my stepfather eating peanuts.
I can’t stand this sound.
Do you ever have that reaction to a sound? When you want to choke someone and stab yourself in the ears with an ice pick and kick a puppy and knock down a grocery display that someone spent five hours setting up?
Just, omg. I can’t take it.
Chewing is not a happy sound to begin with, but this specific instance of individual + food = homicidal tendencies.