This Week’s Prompt: 14. Hideous sound in the dark.
The Resulting Story:A Humming In The Dark
Dear Necromancers and affiliates, this is a particularly frustrating topic. Hideous sounds are…well common. As staples of horror go, strange sounds in the dark are about as standard as lights flickering. So, to compensate, let’s look at the nature of sound.
A dangerous sound, or ‘Brown Note’ as tvtropes calls it,is a rather common motif. There are of course, the sirens of Greek myth who lure men to their death. Like wise with some mermaid stories, where the sound is alluring more than hideous and draws men to drown themselves.
For simply horrifying noises, there is always the Poe story of the Tell Tale Heart (included below for your viewing pleasure), who’s beating drives the guilty mad. The image of madness inducing music comes in Mr.Lovecraft’s work as well, with the Music of Erik Zann.
And classically, there is the music of Pan’s pipes, which brought madness with them. We should never forget that part of Pan, lest his woodland nature trick us. From him come’s that dreaded Pied Piper after all. And of course, the ritual cries of Dionysus’s companions There is thus potency in these sounds to affect the mind, and there hideousness maybe more than simply uncomfortable.
The Greeks do not have monopoly on this horrifying trope however. The banshee’s cry signals impending death, an inevitability rife with material to mine. Notably, there is disagreement in regards to causation. Does the banshee wail for the foreseen death, or does the wail cause the death? Do they curse or confirm?
Then there is the Aswang. Oh, the aswang. Briefly, brothers and sisters, indulge in something that terrified me upon discovery. The aswang makes a terrible tik-tik noise as it stalks through the night looking to eat babes and unborn children. But importantly, the noise is louder the farther away it is (a trick the fae employ as well), allowing this predator to confuse its prey. The sound invokes no more terror then these shape-shifting monsters do on their own, but such noises in the dark are worth a mention.
All this in mind, a monster may be necessary for this story. A monster tied with madness and certainty, it seems, an inevitable creature. Poe’s Tell-Tale is inevitable, Pan’s pipes always play, and the Piper must be paid, and the banshee sees that inevitable death (or creates it). We have a strong theme, then, of trying to resist fate. Of going mad when forced to, pardon me, face the music.
Darkness is likewise a potent symbol of inevitability. Death is often, in the West, dark cloaked, and the realms of the dead are dark places. Night comes, and in darkness the world goes when it ends. A creeping darkness, there fore, with its strange music and piping is a potent embodiment of fate and death.
What sort of man fights death then? What woman resists fate? Perhaps a certain Russian?
Is the fate death literally, or some death of hope? Some misery of unhappiness that cannot be escaped?
I find the second more entertaining. What terror awaits, my fellows? Tell me what you think.
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