by Timothy Mowers
He could hear it. Slowly, cautiously advancing .Building up pressure slowly increasing ever slightly. And then all at once exploding like a cyclone, vibrating, and tearing apart the air. It reached out and grabbed him, tore at him, shook him senseless. It slid through walls, sheets, fingers cupped over ears, effortlessly enveloping him. It backhanded any thoughts that tried to form, pinching and clawing his neurons as it advanced, until with a great effort, he formed but one thought. Get away! He had to get away from the noise!
He ran through the streets, twisting and turning, not thinking just trying to get away. It continued its assault undaunted, redoubling its efforts, it echoed and reverberated around him. It surrounded him, cutting off his retreat, biting him like a pack of dogs. He stumbled, grabbing at everything he could, just trying to stay up, to keep moving, for if he lay down it would devour him. As he dragged his legs behind him he threw himself at a bronze gate, wincing at the sound of the lock falling, of the screech as it opened. The sign above read Shaded Acres Cemetery, and into its shadow he collapsed. And then Nothing.
Nothing. Silence, quiet, a respite from that which hounded him. Leaning against a hedge stone and breathing, just breathing. Feeling the fire in his nerves ease and begin to die. Feeling the pain ease, the fires doused, as he sat among the dead. He began to breathe again, just breathing. Into this calm his torturer spread its chaos. Nervous with fear, he heard a noise. It was a thumping, a battering. Its pitch, its rhythm increasing as it got louder and louder. It crashed over his ears again and again. It bubbled up inside of him, and in it he heard laughter, a cackling, mocking laugh. Franticly throwing his eyes to and fro, searching for a way out, there had to be one. And then as before his focus overcame the noise and for but the briefest instant he thought clearly. He stood grasping the headstone, and swung forth his shoulders, dashing his head against the stone repeatedly, until bloodied and battered, he fell dead. And with his last breath came the end of that noise, that mocking, horrid noise, the beating of his own heart.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.