Flash Fiction Month 2020 Day 9

Today’s story is based on a what3words code, catch.sound.unwell

Billy didn’t know he could catch a noise like a cold, a single tone embedded in his head as deep as any virus.

He wasn’t sure when he caught the sound, but thought it likely that the infection began while in town. There were so many noises he was exposed to, from window rattling dirty bass beats to the deceptively sterile shop music. Now he knew that all contained their own traps.

Specifics were difficult, the noise felt rather than heard. He experienced it in his bones, as if the marrow itself was a speaker. This was not tinnitus or over-exposure but a winnowing down from within.

The first time he realised how unwell he was, was when he felt the noise in the tendons of his hand, hardly able to hold a pen with the vibrations. When he slept the tone translated to his sleep, voicing characters made of dreams.

He woke the next day with it stuck in his rib cage, and throughout the morning felt his spine transformed to an amplifier only he could here.

About ten o clock the doorbell rang, and Billy struggled from the table, the ringing in his limbs almost robbing him of movement. Arriving at the door, he glanced through the glass and saw the postman waiting, a parcel in his arms. Billy opened the door held out his arms and went to thank the deliverer.

His voice had crumbled, shut down, decayed and now was replaced by the singular tone, a note that scorched his vocal chords. As he looked at the postman’s expression, Billy knew he was no longer the only one infected.

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