Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)




Third place:

The Noise

By Daniel Zimmerman-Rodriguez

The sun creeps down amongst the horizon, and a dimming confusion comes over the town. I ought to be getting home. It’ll soon be too dark to see and the streets are vacant of proper lighting. The corner sign on 4th and Washington flickers from the day’s dying sun and the sound of crows flying to coop for the night flows through the air.

But there’s another sound. A vile noise that eases through the birds’ calls. The bell tower rings. It’s a quarter ‘til nine.

My ears are petrified. The sound! A horrid mixture of screams and yells. Someone’s in danger and I need to find help. Isn’t anyone here!? I search furiously around but fail to find anyone. It’s not that late. I can’t imagine where they’ve all gone.

“Help!” I shout in fits of panic as the sound grows steadily louder. “Please, help!”

But I am answered only by the shrill sound, now penetrating the street.

I run down the street to see if I can tell where the noise is coming from. As I run towards the downtown, it grows louder. It has to be someone on the street. I keep running but my breath stops me. I cough and gasp for air, as I realize how foolish it was of me to run. I reach in my pocket to grab my inhaler, but my hand finds nothing. My panicked glare worsens as the shrill continues and I have to rest to catch my breath.

It’s unrealistic for me to run without my inhaler. I have to take it slow. The sound continues over the tops of the buildings and I’m following the noise to 2nd and Franklin. The tower now strikes nine. The banging of the chime alleviates the sound from the horrid din and then…the tower! The noise is coming from the top of the tower.

I move around to the back of the tower and push on the door. Locked. The screaming is now in full force as the clock stops and I bang on the locks. Finally, the lock’s rusted chains give and I rush inside.

I must run. I rush up the stairs on the edge of the tower and begin to cough. I’m gasping for air as I rush up the stairs. How many has it been? Fifty steps? A hundred?

I’m nearing the top and the wails are rising. I’m gasping for breath as the door comes in sight for the top of the tower. I must get there. I’m huffing as I pass the last step and arrive at the door.

The vile sound is all around me. The wails are horrific. This is the place. I can hear that just behind the door is where the noise has to be coming from. I push open the door, while clasping my chest and find nothing. Absolutely nothing.

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