Daily Inkling Prompt: Unidentified Flying Sound
“You awake from your peaceful Sunday morning slumber to a terrifying sound you’ve never heard before. Aghast, you look around before realizing it’s coming from the sky. You look up. What is making that outlandish noise?“
It started as a low, constant buzz. Like when you’re away at summer camp, and your bunk is filled with mosquitoes, and a few of them have permeated the mesh of your to your bug net, and are assaulting your ears. I open my eyes, only to be greeted by the darkness of my studio apartment in the city, with nary a mosquito in sight. I had left the windows open the night before, in the hopes of bringing a little relief to the sweltering heat of my apartment, courtesy of the disgusting, Atlanta summer. I reach clumsily for my phone, blinking at the bright, digital letters that read 4:37 am. Definitely too early to be awake. I head to the bathroom to pee, the strange buzzing still filling the early morning air.
I stumble back to my bed, and turn on the bedside lamp, illuminating my surroundings. A faint, orange glow comes through my curtains, signalling the impending sunrise. I stand and move aside the curtains, and look out over the city, and the already bustling streets four stories below my feet. The buzzing seems to be getting louder. I scan the street below, looking for some sort of power tool, or city equipment, that would explain the strange noise, and that’s when I realize that the normal chaos of the city streets is anything but normal. It is chaos. There are cars speeding through stoplights, and hordes of people, of all races and creeds, are running through the streets in every direction. The city is panicking.
A loud pounding against the wall above my bed causes me to jump, and snap me back. I can hear my neighbor, Jerry, yelling incoherently, and slamming his fists into my wall. There are voices in the hallway outside my door, some screaming, and some talking in urgent whispers. A parade of footsteps on the floor makes everything in my apartment shake, and for a moment, I think that there might be an earthquake causing the panic.
And then, the buzzing gets louder. It sounds like the largest, angriest swarm of cicadas that I’ve ever heard, and I feel the familiar, dull ache of an oncoming migraine begin in my temples. I return to the window, and look down at the rivers of city residents pouring from the buildings on my block, forming a river of terrified pedestrians.
For the first time, I look up.
The sky is still dark, but the dreamy pink and orange hues of dawn allow just enough light for me to make out a series of large, fluid shapes, twisting and swirling in the skies above the cityscape. A swarm. A loud, angry swarm of… bugs? Birds? Defective, self-flying drones?
The buzzing intensifies, to the point of causing my physical pain, and creating a ringing in my ears. Jerry is still pounding on my wall, and I desperately wish that he would stop. The world outside my window erupts in a chorus of screams, explosions, and the sounds of metal colliding with metal. My teeth start to hurt. From the streets below, I hear a gunshot ring out, but it fades away into the roar of the chaos.
I just want it to end.
I pace the floor of my tiny, sparsely furnished apartment, suddenly wishing that I had never chased my stupid dream of starting a life in the city. Why am I even here? Mom never wanted me to leave home. She told me something bad would happen if I moved to the city. She is always right, and it is infuriating. Jerry has stopped pounding on the wall.
I walk over to the window, and take in one last look at the chaos below, the terror above, and the beautiful, painted skies. Another gunshot tears through the air, much closer than the one before. I hear Jerry’s body hit the floor, just on the other side of the wall.
I dangle my legs out of the window, remembering vividly how I used to sit on the end of the dock at grandma and grandpa’s lake house. My favorite thing in the world as a child was running to the end of the dock, and leaping into the cool, clear waters of the small lake. I wish I could go back there once more. I long to paddle through the water. I long to jump off of that dock again.
And so I leap into the depths, to the chorus of the countryside cicadas.