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They'll Hear Us, You Know

by BlackThorne

I’d found the tapes a few days ago, sitting on the floor of a brine-flooded house. Since then they held less water. I’d rinsed them with water to wash away the salt, and stood them up to dry, like raisins. Didn't know how much difference that'd make, though. The black wheels inside were corroded, eaten away with white. But they had to play.

I needed to know whether to run.


The TV screen lit up with black, the bright black of hot electrodes, except for the cracks on the screen, which glowed with a bleeding white. I could see a grainy shifting, of something. Fuzzy shadows. Hard to tell if it was what was on it or just the water damage.

The sound was crackly. It sounded like splashing. Not surprising. 

Suddenly there was a distant clanging sound, sharp like metal. No voices though, just the sound of heavy breathing.

I clicked in the next tape.

It seemed quiet at first, but then I heard more breathing, quieter this time. There was a dripping sound. I heard another breathing sound, a wet breathing sound from another pair of lungs. Lungs that I knew weren’t human.

Bubbling sounds. There was a cold scraping, and then another cold scraping. A voice then, oddly calm. “They’ll hear us, you know.”

A click. And then the click of the tape rolling out.

There was a cold pit of dread in my stomach. I put in the third and final tape.

It was silent.

I picked up my things, and ran.

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5 Reviews

Points: 270
Reviews: 5

Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:54 am
OddlyPlaced wrote a review...

I'm usually not a fan of "suspenseful" writings like this one, but I found that I actually quite enjoyed this!

I didn't expect such a short piece to be able to get across what was needed, but you managed to do so, very well might I add.

It had the length of a poem, yet the content of something you would find in a novel, and you made that go perfectly together.

You also introduced me to flash fiction, I hadn't heard of it beforehand, but will definitely look into in the future if it is similar to this.

The only criticism I have is that you repeated some words unnecessarily("I heard more breathing, quieter breathing." could have been "I heard more breathing, quieter this time.
"There was a cold scraping, and then another cold scraping." could have just been "There was a cold scraping, followed by another.") You may also want to use more synonyms, using the same word over and over can be a bit jarring, using a different word with the same meaning can remedy that. It really only becomes a problem when you do it in close proximity, and to be honest I oftentimes find myself doing the same lol.

Those are just minor wording related complaints, otherwise, you did an outstanding job! I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!

BlackThorne says...

thanks! I normally don't use words so close together, but the "cold scraping" was intentional. up to you whether it sounds better. thanks for the suggestions!

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32 Reviews

Points: 2245
Reviews: 32

Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:12 am
EthanHoover wrote a review...

This was a very interesting piece! I was intrigued enough that, if this piece were longer, I gladly would have kept reading. There were a few confusing bits, but I think with a little revision and fleshing out, this could be really good. One thing you could do to improve the piece, in my mind, would be to give me a little more insight to the speaker. What you have of his/her inner thoughts are good, but I'd like more. Here's an example of what I mean(words in ** imply italics):

"I put in the third and final tape, desperately hoping it wouldn't contain what I now feared to hear.


It was silent. That was the *worst* thing I could of heard. I glanced at my belongings strewn about the room, wanting to take the time to gather them before I left, but I knew I couldn't. I grabbed my coat and ran as hard as I could, never looking back."

I think you get the idea: I want to see how the character reacts, because what is significant to him might be meaningless to me. I see a silent tape and thing it must be ruined; He sees a silent tape and runs for dear life. It adds a little more depth to the story.

All that being said, this was really good! I could see it turning into a longer story one day, though it certainly can stand on its own just the way it is. Keep up the good work!

BlackThorne says...

thank you! :) the silence is meant to imply the people heard in the tape died.

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124 Reviews

Points: 0
Reviews: 124

Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:31 pm
JesseWrites wrote a review...

This was very interesting. It was short for my taste, but I enjoyed it. You had many bits of good description. I can imagine the TV in front of me. It was so good. There was so many possibilities for everything mentioned. It gave a special effect. I wish that was used in more types of stories. This stuck out.

There was some parts were i was a little confused. There could have been more meaning and stuff like that. The ending was amazing though.

Keep it up!

BlackThorne says...

thanks! it's a work of flash fiction, which is why it's so short.

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23 Reviews

Points: 155
Reviews: 23

Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:16 pm
LewisPencastle2 wrote a review...

I enjoyed reading this piece, it was short but conveyed a lot (or at least a lot of possibilities) due to it's open-endedness. First of all, the description of the tv was pretty stellar, that really stuck out to me. You give just enough information for a reader to make any number of possibilities about what has happened or is happening, making any reader feel more immersed as they have to make their own speculations as to all the unknown that you've put in. I suppose some might say that as a criticism, that you haven't added enough exposition or meaning to what is happening, but that's obviously what you were going for. The story as well is simple, straightforward and has a great ending that really drives home a point of danger, mystery and eeriness. I can't really think of anything major to criticize. Good job.

BlackThorne says...

thank you!

I have writer's block. I can't write. It is the will of the gods. Now, I must alphabetize my spice rack.
— Neil Gaiman