Cacophony

This was a 250 word piece written based on the picture below, a large number of alpine horns. I wrote from the perspective of someone experiencing sensory issues in relation to them.


She flinched as she stepped into the station.  It was silent, but she knew the horror that awaited her.  It wasn’t the subway’s coming and going, that was calm, rhythmic, and comforting.  It wasn’t the sound of people talking, even though it reached a dull roar.  The PA system was a joke, only in the case of a delay did this place become quiet enough to hear it over the din.  None of these were the sounds that she braced herself against as she entered the tunnel that would go to her train.

Maybe, maybe they weren’t here today, she hoped, a little desperate.  She was halfway through and was on her way to relaxing when it started.  First a small sound, tentative, but pitched in a way that made her shudder and walk faster.  They had moved.

Then the first horn sounded in full, and she went from a walk to a run, trying to escape the echoing tunnel, but it was too late.  Just as she turned the corner, and saw them full on, it exploded.   Dozens of the alpine horns began to bellow, the sound reverberating through her head feeling as if they were rattling her brain.  She froze a moment and then fled, grateful as she left the tunnel and saw the door open on an arriving train.  She jumped on, hoping this was the train she had wanted to take.

As the doors closed, and silence fell, she cursed the hornists, her head pounding.

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