The Song

               Isaac first heard the song when he was out in the woods, chopping a tree. The sun was low in the sky that night, almost completely submerged in the black abyss beneath the horizon. There was only a hint of its rays in the distance, turning the sky blood red. Isaac had just taken the tree down when he saw just how late it had gotten, and prepared to take the wood he’d gathered back home, when the wind carried the song to his ears.

           It was a high, haunting tune. It should’ve been beautiful, but it wasn’t. The soft, distant notes nevertheless hit Isaac like a tremendous wave of the ocean. He doubled over. He dropped his load. He hurled. He screamed. He begged the inhuman tune to go away, to leave him alone. It was gone. He stayed on his knees for many minutes, catching his breath and waiting for his heart to calm down.

           All was quiet for the rest of the evening. Isaac took his wood, cooked his dinner, and went to bed. The whole walk home, his heart pounded in his chest, every sound made him whirl his head and cover his ears. When he arrived home, he shut the door and barricaded it. He stuffed the cracks in the windows, and ate his dinner in utter, trembling silence. It took him a long time to get to sleep, but eventually he did. 

        He woke to the song. He screamed and covered his ears again. He screamed and screamed, trying to drown out the sound, but the sound only got louder, and louder, and louder! He couldn’t bear to hear the deceptively simple, but horribly, unquestionably alien tune when it stopped once again. 

         He heaved and panted for several minutes, clutching his ears and listening to the sound of his racing heart for what felt like years. It was at that moment he realized his eyes had been squeezed shut. He hesitated, dreading what he might see, but he gathered his courage. He opened his eyes. He looked around. He felt a chill, both in terror at what he saw, and from the cold air of the woods he was standing in. His bare soles were caked from dirt from the woods, and dripping with blood from the stones and the thorns. 

           When he recovered his senses, he whirled and searched the woods desperately. He didn’t recognize where he was. The deep blue moon, surrounded by a black, starless void, cast a tint on the forest that was far too blue to be natural. The shadows of the trees and brush were long and twisted, so black that nothing was visible where they met the ground, and so unnatural that Isaac swore that they moved in the corner of his eye. It was when he noticed these surroundings that the wind picked up again, and Isaac knew that the song would be back.

          He tensed, he braced himself, and the tiny, simple notes assaulted his senses once again. His stomach churned, his head cried in agony, and his body went so cold as to somehow feel both numb and agonized. This time, as Isaac stood and endured the attack, a new feeling came over him. Hate. Hate burned in his head, in his body, in the very depths of his soul. Hate for the abomination that made this unbearable “song” consumed him. His body was cold, yet it now burned with white-hot fury. His heart threatened to explode from his chest, not just from fear, but from hate. His stomach twisted and turned in disgust, not just from the song, but from the thought that something would dare torment him so. He head felt ready, not only to collapse from the pressure of the sound, but also to burst from the murderous determination pressing out against his skull.

        He took a step forward, then another, and another, and another. Before long, he was running. He was running straight towards the source of the song. He was ready to kill this thing that dared to attack him. He was ready to crush this thing that dared make sounds so abominable, so abhorrent. Whatever it was, he knew that this implacable fire inside him would be enough to kill the thing so utterly that no trace would ever be left for anyone to find.

       The sound was getting closer, or, more accurately, Isaac was getting closer. He smiled a small, cruel smile. As much as it hurt him, he was glad the song was there. It empowered him, it drove him, it filled him with unyielding malice. It would lead him to victory against this horrid thing. He was almost upon it now. He knew it was near. In a few minutes, he’d be able to look the monster in the eye and watch the light leave them.

         He saw it. He lunged. He tore long, crooked limb from long, crooked limb. He tore the bright, luminous pools of blue that were its eyes from their sockets. He broke its void-black skin and drew gushes of blinding white blood. He savored the crunch of its wiry, brittle bones and the sickening screech that replaced the song. He smelled the metallic scent of its breath, and heaved a sigh of victory before he woke up.

               In Isaac’s house, all was quiet. He heard no song, and he heard no screech. He heard no winds, and he heard no birds. He heard no breath, and he heard no heartbeat. The silence continued for what felt like forever. He grasped his head, and he tried to scream. He heard nothing. He tried to bang and break his limbs on the bed. He heard nothing. He tried to smash the window with his bare hands. He heard nothing. He was sweating, he was hyperventilating, he was panicking.

        He began to sing. He sang the simple notes that had been burned into him. He heard them. He sang, and the song echoed and reverberated. He sang, and the song got louder and louder. He sang, even as his lungs ached for the slightest inhale. He sang, even as his heart felt ready to burst. He sang, even as sweat dripped down his hot skin. He sang, even as his skin turned black as nothingness, and his blood turned blinding white. He sang, even as his bones stretched and divided into many brittle hairs and spikes. He sang, even as his eyes glazed over and glowed a bright blue. He sang, even as his last breath stretched out into an endless stream of noxious, metallic gas. He sang, even as the sun became a deep blue moon in an empty, starless void.

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