The scream at midnight

Note: This is one of the short pieces I wrote last year as part of my Creative Writing unit (ENGL 1501) at my university.

 

The sky was stained an authentic shade of light pink, purple, brown and black, with denser, fuzzier parts made up by the dense canopy of Kings Park. He looked up, threw his vision far across an unquantified distance, and tried, as vainly as it was, to ascribe a name to this eerie colour of the sky, a description of this potency of the night.

Even a layman to photography would know it was futile to dally around with a camera at this hour, and yet somehow he still brought it. But he was in no mood to deride his own craziness. The sky with its questionable shade intensifying, the trees with thin, spiky, painfully sharp swords of the branches, and the invisible ground that seemed to give way ever so slightly with every heavy wary step he took; they were calling out to him, dominating him with each second ticking by.

Awe, excitement, fear, imagination. He had unwittingly placed himself in a realm furthest away from reality and comfort, and closest to the fatal nature of human curiosity. He pressed on, not knowing and not caring what would come next into his vision or what would happen.

1004, 1005, 1006… he was counting the steps towards nothingness, or so he thought. Then it came.

A scream. An abrupt increase in decibel from 0 to 120 that knocked him over with shock. He fell to the ground, dazed and paralysed, his knees gave way to rubble, his ears probably have burst from the sudden stimulus. His stomach churned violently and a bitter, sour taste climbed all the way up into his throat, partly explaining the miracle that he had not screamed too. His heart… did he still have it? Where was it? His sweaty, dirty palms roamed the chest frantically and halted the moment they felt the thunderous vibrations reassuring him that he was alive. And then, they painfully reminded him that what he had heard was real.

Somebody had screamed. A female voice so raw and high that he could not discern emotion nor cause of it. Most frighteningly, it was very close, as if coming from someone who was sitting next to him in a lecture theatre and then got stabbed by him.

Another scream cut his thoughts into fragments. Indeed, almost right next to him. To the left, from a black mass – must be a bush – and it lasted longer. Another one followed, this time longer, weakened into a moan midway, and after that all were moans and ragged breaths. And finally, an exhausted voice that confirmed it all:

“Ahh… John… ahh…”

Not him, of course. He gathered up strength and ran away, glancing at the dancing shots of flashlights behind him. He was in no mood to testify for a bed scene at a wrong place.

Above him, the sky was stained a shade as dark and sickly as ever.

 

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