LOUD • by Richard D Barker

Something hit the hull and it was loud.

Just moments ago, we were on a routine flight around the station. Now we’ve stopped. The stirring started immediately, a quaking sensation rattling through the length of the ship. Systems were working fine but the noise was insufferable. A head cracking noise, a squeal that burrowed into your eyes and out your mouth.

It was a disturbing and haunting blare. A screeching piston, a crashed car, a tortured scream, a star being ripped from the sky. We must do something. My god, this noise will kill us!

We walk through the halls. The venomous black of space outside pushing against the shrinking portholes. Wait, where did the station go? It matters not. We stop this damn racket. We run. We sprint. We tear past each other.

Where was this infernal music box? As it tore through our psyche, we followed its hum, like rats to the piper. It got louder. It got discordant. It got angry with our delay. We tried to reach it but the clangor! It could shred a man apart.

Then suddenly, something shifted in the air. Hellish notes became smoother, buttered over. We stopped hearing what, moments ago, was destroying us. Instead we listened to our mothers’ whispers, spring-like symphonies, gentle flowing brooks.

Heavenly ambience of days past. We were willingly pulled along until we reached it.

It lodged itself in crew quarters, plugging a massive hole. The sweet sonic caramel flowed deeper now. Worries of a previous life were drowned out. It sang to us. Everything is good. Just listen…

Perhaps it should stay. Perhaps we should stay. Yes. That would be best. It’s not too loud.

Richard D Barker writes in North Carolina, USA.

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