Often we visualize the imaginary settings and scenes from the pages of a story. This leads writers to focus on what they see when they write. Yet, we use all our senses to perceive that imaginary space. This week we played with sound.
Sonar creates an acoustical image. The challenge to writers was to explore creating a flash fiction by sound. Prepare to hear something different this week.
The following is based on the August 3, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) use sound to create a story.
Sounds Surround Us by Norah Colvin
The deadline looms and I wonder how to extract a 99-word story from my unwilling brain. Contemplation, false starts, abandoned ideas: the well is dry. But listen! Outside, the day fades. Birds serenade folk hurrying homewards and signal the changing shifts. Soon they’ll sleep and the night time chorus will begin. Inside, the computer hums patiently, waiting to tap out the words. In the kitchen, doors creak: pantry then fridge. Vegetables are scraped and rinsed. Water bubbles on the stove. What joy! Yes, I get to eat tonight; but my, how the gift of hearing enriches my world. Gratitude.
A Mother’s Journey by KittyVerses
The first cry of my daughter announcing her entry on earth, it was music to my ears.Often wondering, why is it a cry that we arrive with, why not a smile? Over the years, I’ve come to realize that it’s only with the cherished ones we drop our shield and cry.
At the foot of the waterfalls, by her side, this was another sound I wasn’t going to forget. As the water announced her entry to the world, heralding goodness, prosperity, luck, much like my daughter who despite her tantrums, disagreements, conflicts during her growing up years, stood by me and banked upon me during the good and tough times.
Sunrise Flash by Liz Husebye Hartmann
He stands on the bank where forest parts to sunrise on the rich strip of green, and lowers his muzzle to feed. Thick grass pops between his rotating jaws, snapping as he tears into clumps of equally satisfying roots.
He sneezes, shakes his antlers, and freezes at the whisper of small feet on the low cliff, opposite.
Alert, he steps back into shadow.
She sees him and laughs as water over shallows.
He nods, unconcerned, as she sheds her nightshirt and plashes into deeper water. Skin twinkles and turns, and flipping her tailfin, she’s gone.
He nuzzles the grass.
Forest Bathing by Jules Paige
Most suburbs have cookie cutter houses and some
neighborhoods are lined with concrete sidewalks, that for a
time were required by law. They reside in between areas
where the yards go right to the streets’ paved edge. Which
were at one time disconnected from other areas by remaining
Those houses with old growth trees nestled in hillsides where
fox, deer and pheasant still hide… that is where you can hear
the past meeting the future. Little pockets of Shinrin-yoku await.
Insects buzz, woodpeckers tap out Morse Code. and early
risers climb with dreamsand still stuck in their eyes…
Million-dollar Violin by Anne Goodwin
The sound was sublime, more mystical than any music. But Lea wasn’t satisfied. Replacing the instrument on its stand she tucked another under her chin. Serenity swept through her father’s body as she slid the bow across the strings. But still not good enough for Lea. He cringed when she picked up the one with the million-dollar price-tag. But the tone! The resonance! The joy that entered through his ears, echoed in his head to be transported by his arteries to his toes. He’d do anything to get it for her. Even give the devil his soul.
Sound by Michael at Afterwards
Each night it starts with a scratch scratch scratch on my window. I close my eyes and hope this it is just branches blowing against my window, but it never is.
From the forest into my room they creep, scuttling across the ceiling, shrouded in darkness. Skull less eyes glow red, foul hissing breath on my skin as they envelop me. I lie frozen and unable to scream as their claws caress me, hungry tongues snaking out to feast on my fear.
With a full belly they return to the night and I am free to scream, too late.
Failed Investigation by Mick E Talbot
Buzz, the buzzer buzzed!
Under the spell of the questionnaire or so we thought, but it jumped, grabbing her by the throat, blood spurted everywhere.
Zapped by a taser, no affect?
Zapped again, still standing, and now the questionnaire was decapitated.
Twice, with no effect. panic ensued
Once should of put it down
Beaten, security called for help, armed guards arrived within seconds.
Agonisingly the alien submitted, it was then manually restrained..
Next, in anticipation of further trouble it was restrained. with three sets of handcuffs.
Grinning, nodded its head ten times, looked up, then disappeared with a bang!
The Chimes by Allison Maruska
A familiar chord greets me as I step onto the curb. Amazing those old wind chimes carry this far. As the Uber drives away, I stare at my childhood home. Its color has faded in the past twenty years.
But that E-chord still sounds, not as cleanly but definitely as present. I follow it across the dead grass, through the rusty metal gate, and into the back yard.
She sits on the porch, the chimes ringing above her despite the still air.
Her focus centers on me, and a chill shoots through my body.
“I knew you’d come back.”
The New Bell by Michael
Bang, crash, push, heave, ugh!
“You got it yet?”
It grated as they pushed it further. The grinding rang in their ears.
“A little further?”
“Do we have to?”
“Stop whinging, now grow a pair and push.”
Breathing heavily, they huffed and puffed, then huffed some more.
One looked at the other, sighed deeply and then took purposefully hold.
Gradually they made progress. It moved begrudgingly, inching forward resisting their every breath consuming effort.
With a resounding squeal of metal on metal, they moved it into place.
The new shiny bell swung gracefully. It would ring out anew.
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
My dad’s eyes flashed silver when he got into a bottle. His lungs darkened, his voice bellowed, and Mom would whisk me off to bed amidst the building gusts.
In my bed I could still smell the sourness in his skin, his blood charged with ozone and bourbon. I counted the seconds between flickers of light beneath my door and thundering steps. I’d curl into a ball, flinching at every sudden bang.
Sometimes it passed. A heavy downpour would turn to snores. Other times it thrashed about, uprooted and blowing a gale, heaving against the house through the night.
The Protector by Pensitivity
Someone had broken in.
Drawers were ransacked, papers shuffled and ruffled, heavier objects thrown to the floor.
Footsteps were muted but still audible on the carpet.
Wardrobes were violated, the swish of clothes on hangers disturbed the silence.
They were searching.
She trembled in her bed. Not for her to make a sound and announce her presence.
She’d been kicked by intruders before.
Angry barking rocketed through the stillness.
Sticky fingers stopped mid poke, the unwelcome guest backed into a corner by a snarling beast.
The German Shepherd guarded his patch and waited. The poodle went back to sleep.
Sound by FloridaBorne
I awake on a moonless night, eyes open, trying to make sense of the darkness. I close them again and, for some inexplicable reason, this helps.
My dogs have their favorite places to sleep. White dog, tight against my body, whines when I move. Dingo, who likes to sleep against the bathroom door, snores peacefully. I take exactly 9 steps toward the sound, stopping just short of Dingo’s snout. His hot breath bathes my feet, as he continues to snore. Turning the door knob startles him. My bladder reacts when he yelps.
I hate cleaning pee off the floor.
Crinkling by Kerry E.B. Black
Crinkling, like anxious mice in an autumn woodland, woke Wendy from a sound sleep. She wrinkled her nose around a musty smell. The insidious crinkling crept deeper. She lit a bedside flashlight and shone it on the ground. She gasped. “No.” Water crept into her room, surrounding her as though she were Thumbellina asleep on a lilypad. Her feet splashed on sopping carpet as she rushed to gather the most valuable of her belongings. Tears splashed into the rising tide. The water rose above her ankles, collecting items to ruin, crinkling like a voracious wolf gnawing an ancient bone.
Buzz to Bang by Irene Waters
“Ugh! Tinnitus. Today it’s thrumming rather than clanging.
“I’ve got buzzing reverberating also.” Sheila cocked her head. ” It’s in the garage.”
The hum intensifed as Peter entered the garage. “Hell! There’s a swarm of bees in here.”
“Smoke subdues bees. Use the fireworks.”
“Great idea.” Choosing Mad Monster, Peter placed it under the honey comb. The scrape of the match igniting was quickly followed by a whizz then loud booming explosions. Bam! Boom!
Unexpected whizzing and banging as the other fireworks ignited. Crackling fire engulfed the garage. In the distance a welcome nee-naw, nee-naw.
“Preferred the hum” Sheila whispered.
Wildfire by Kate Spencer
An eerie silence descended upon the acrid night air. Lori’s eyes burned as she stood on the porch staring at the crest of the distant hill, her heart pounding. Waiting.
And then it was there. Two hundred foot flames shooting into the sky over the summit followed by a roar like a fast approaching freight train.
“Rob, it’s time,” she yelled.
Rob appeared with a half-eaten sandwich in his hands. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I’ll start hosing down the house. Go. The guys are expecting you.”
“Love ya,” he whispered before racing off to do battle with the advancing wildfire.
A Grating Sound (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Gears ground when the all-terrain vehicle powered up the slope. Danni heard Evelyn shout, “Giddy-up, Mule! Haw! Haw!” The revving engine faded, and a drone of voices washed over Danni like white noise. She studied the sonar graphs, puzzling over the dark features buried four feet below the Kansas clay. Trowels scraped, volunteers called to one another and the porta-potty door slammed intermittently. Danni focused. The active noises blurred.
“I’m a gardener!” A high-pitched voice like nails on a chalkboard.
Danni grit her teeth hard enough to hear enamel chip. A child. Who brought a child to her dig?
Offerings by D. Avery
The curtain snaps against the breeze in the open window. Triumphant flapping and clucking of Hope’s favorite hen heralds its daily escape.
She listens to comfortable thuds and thumps as he prepares breakfast. Brewing coffee rumbles a baseline to the robins’ chirping. The last stair-tread squeaks as Hope joins her father. Both quiet and reserved, in the mornings together they are quite talkative, sharing observations from the farm or surrounding woods, their voices rolling soft like the round-rocked brook.
Unconsciously they interpret morning sighs. They bring her coffee, their tentative daily offering, worry they might rouse her to flight.
Jack Pine Wings by Ann Edall-Robson
The wind in their faces, the full moon above. Always upwind of the unsuspecting herd feeding in the quiet, illuminated darkness at the meadow’s edge. Spooked to a dead run by the young men moving ever closer. The fleeing sound of pounding hooves, branches snapping, voices yelling. Escaping the open to the trusted sanctuary of the trees, only to face barriers built by those pushing from behind.
Jack Pine pole wings guide them into the funnel opening of the corral. Held in the stronghold, wild-eyed, snorting, blowing. Squeals of defiance fight the ropes settling around sweating, heaving necks.
Jubilee Night by Bill Engleson
Some might think it sounds like a drunken grizzly scratching a chalkboard.
In the cities night air, the grizzled old academic, twitching in his fuming sadness, hears the piercing refrain from Marie’s Wedding seeping through the raccoon infested briar that separates his Edwardian from the Collectives.
“Damn hippies,” he mutters, tips his flagon, and swallows his sour brew.
But the beauty of the pipes, a surprize this Saturday Eve, intrigues him.
He rises and is drawn to the window that overlooks the neighbours lawn, replete with a hundred celebrators.
“Damn fine tune for the bagpipes,” he allows. “Damn fine tune.”
My Spouse by Reena Saxena
He tiptoes to come close, and deliver a surprise. He grunts to express disinterest or disappointment. He slurps with a look of satisfaction, on the dining table.
He hammers and nails, to fix things around the house, even if it disturbs my writing. The whirr of the car engine reflects his mood for the day. He belts out a romantic number while driving, in his not-so-melodious voice. I prefer the radio instead.
His voice softens, almost breaking down, on hearing that his father is now terminal.
I know my spouse, more through the sounds he makes, than other expressions.
Dinner Date by C. Jai Ferry
He pressed the oversized lid onto the sizzling wok with a metallic burst of frustration. His phone vibrated in his pocket, producing another insistent ding-ding-ding. She was sick, wasn’t coming in. The power washer whooshed to life, a sink full of silverware rattling under the steaming water. The sound made his teeth ache. He stepped into the hallway, where gentle guitar strings embraced him from strategically placed speakers. He dialed her number. Straight to voicemail. Beep. He hung up. He contemplated calling back. Rhythmic chopping against a thick cutting board interrupted his thoughts. He’d fire her after dinner service.
Quiet Sunday Morning by Deborah Lee
It powers in with a rush and a roar, surrounding the building in seconds. Becca staggers to her feet, careens from room to room, arms wrapped around her head. The entire apartment throbs. War. It can only be war. China? North Korea? Plenty of choices these days.
Finally the thwapping fades.
Panic says it’s war; logic says just another damned tourist helicopter. Her single crystal wineglass, the one she hid from Richard’s sister to ruin the bar set, is the casualty this time. Vibrated itself right off the counter. Becca swigs from the bottle until her heart finally slows.
Lock the Bathroom Door by Susan Zutautas
Meg was having a nicotine fit and needed a smoke. Her parents were home so she went into the bathroom.
Sitting on the toilet taking that first drag, she felt instant relief.
She heard a tap, tap on the bathroom door and panic set in. “I’ll just be a minute”, she said.
Quickly she put her hand behind her and was about to drop it into the toilet when her mother walked in to comb her hair.
If I drop it she’ll hear the sizzle of the smoke hitting the water.
Seeming like forever her mother finally left. Reprieve.
Sound Track by D. Avery
“I love it here.”
“Yeah, Kid, what do love about it?”
“Well, until you showed up jest now, flappin’ yer pie-hole, I was jest lovin’ the sounds. Listen. Hear that? Far off ya can already hear the clopping footsteps of some rider bringin’ one in. Soon ya’ll be hearin’ the easy lowing of the new herd in the corral. And from up by the bunkhouse friendly laughin’ and talkin’. And, ya hear that? Best sound of all. Bangin’ pots and pans, ringin’ out with the promise of vittles. Shorty’s fixin’ to cook. Cookin’ up somethin’ special.”
“I hear that!”
New Sign by D. Avery
“What’sa matter Kid?”
“Look at Shorty’s new sign over the gate. Use’ta jest say Carrot Ranch. Now it also says ‘literary community’.”
“Well? Is it a ranch or a literary community?”
“Cain’t it be both Kid?”
“I jest wanna ride the range, wrangle some words now an’ agin.”
“But ya generally begin an’ end here at the ranch. Where they’s other wranglers; an’ readers… you know, a community.”
“I ain’t the communal type. I’m free range.”
“Ah, Kid, come on in outta the cold. There’s bacon cookin’.”
“This community has bacon?!”
“And raw carrots.”
Reblogged this on Mick E Talbot Poems and commented:
If you see any flashes
There only friction
As I rushed to my bed
From some scary fiction
Haven’t read them all yet
But I will
Thanks for the heads up Charli
Lots of interesting responses, Charli. This has given me lots of ideas for including sound imagery in my own writing.
A sound collection of sound flashes of inspiration. I’m rather honoured that you opened with my contemplation. Thank you. I love the way the Kid’s contribution rounds out the collection. Always a fitting conclusion.