Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Screech - Earphone Horror


Daniel Os

February 2008 

The music playing in his head was off tune. Yes, it was recognizable but it wasn’t right. It was high pitched and screechy. He removed his earphones from his ear. These earphones had a problem. It wasn’t new to him, so he went to his room and lay down to sleep. 

He visualized the movie characters in his head. His roommate must have started watching a film, if not he would still be deeply asleep by now. He stirred in his bed, as some character in the film screamed out in anger. Damn! His speakers were loud. Now he was pissed off. He subconsciously muttered a plea: 

“Dude, reduce the volume, its loud.” 
No response. 
He said it again and then his roommate replied: 
“Do you want me to put the volume on zero?” 

Later that day, he was in a friend’s room. His friend was listening to some music with an iPod. He stood at the far end of the room, yet he could hear the music playing. He couldn’t fathom why his iPod earphones were this loud…yes they were loud but he could hear the song so harshly. Forever, by Chris Brown. It seemed like the music came from the walls, and not the earphones. It surrounded him like a black veil of sweet confusion that arises from astonished ignorance. 

He left the room to get off the feeling. 
Silence, that was better. 

The next morning, he was in his school’s library, trying gently to get the weird happenings of the day before out of his head. He began reading an advanced book on Quantum Mechanics, hoping to get jaded and eventually fall to sleep. 

Just as the book started having effect, right there in the library, someone turned on some music. Quite secular. Very loud. Shayo, by Durella. The sound was deafening. He turned around. No one in the library seemed to notice. His heart skipped a beat, no way! They weren’t going to tell him they weren’t hearing that! At least someone else too must have turned... 
No one. 
Not a single soul had turned except him. Everyone just moved around like continuous space-time. He turned round again trying to look for the perpetrator. He had to be somewhere close with his laptop...what audacity! But he didn’t find anyone with a laptop around him. His heart skipped three beats and started pounding now. No, he wasn’t running. He wasn’t hearing things. This was not from his head. He stood up very shakily in fear. No, he had to find this guy. He had to convince himself he wasn’t mad. The music was as loud as ever. He tapped the person to his left: 

“Can’t you hear the music playing?” 
The person answered, quite startled: 

He moved from his seat very clumsily, making silly scraping noises with his table and chair. About three people stirred from their work. What? And they didn’t move when the music started? He walked swiftly around the library looking for the person. Some students were using laptops, but none of them had any music playing. He was nervy as he moved back to his seat. 

Just then, the music got little louder. He reflexed to the music source. He almost collapsed at what he saw. He shook his head, rejecting the things his eyes were telling him he was seeing. 

He carried his books and left the library in a haste, still shaking his head and denying the facts it was presenting to him...he had seen a guy with earphones! How possible was that? This wasn’t happening. He was going to sleep now and get the whole thing out of his head. 

He passed by a girl using earphones. It was as clear as digital. It was one of those songs Keri Hilson could have sung; he just didn’t know which one. His calming agitation took a herculean leap; his heart almost coming out of his nose. It was real. It was happening. He was going fanatical, and it was earphones that were making him so. He had suddenly (or overtime) developed an acute hearing for earphones and speakers alike. He passed by five people with earphones on his way back to his room. He recognized some of the music. He was new to some but they all seemed louder. 

The intensity of the sounds increased in a geometric progression. He realized in shock by the time he reached his hostel, that he could hardly pick up a distinct earphone sound. He looked around in panic; his pulse rate sky shooting. He didn’t feel the sweat tricking down his side, his heavy breathing, the booming in his ribcage initiated by his heart. There was not a person in sight using earphones but he was going insane with the music and movies, oh his favorite song, Love Stoned by Justin Timberlake, then…then…he couldn’t pick out the rest. 

He moved closer to his hostel. The different sounds were now like noise produced on a Sunday market; only it was a music and film Sunday market with each sales man displaying his wares by blasting his own type of music; creating a liberally nepotistic array of ear-splitting jargon. It was almost constant now, but it couldn’t be called music anymore. It was more like loud rushing water. Plenty humming bees. Jolly big shiny green flies. Clumsy chickens in a poultry farm. A noisy lecture room. A cricket ridden bush. A standing ovation. The wind blowing trees; and metal scraping metal all at the same time. The closer he moved to his room, the more unbearable it became. 

Now the whole thing was out of tune, spinning in the limbo version of cloud seven. Many colours. Many sounds. Uncontrollable rush. Pain. Severity. Gnashing of teeth. Demons. Many demons. More demons. The earphone demons. Pitch black. Void in forced screeching. Bursting screeching. Fork scraping metal. Many forks on metal. The sounds were searing into his mind, and very soon it would rupture, like a rind of lemon slicing through his timeline. Sour tasting sounds. Intense sourness. More demons. More torture. 

The devil himself. 

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