The Sound

There was a sound in David’s house that he didn’t know.

He could hear it beneath the familiar ones, the humm of the refrigerator and the frigid rustle of ice cubes falling into the freezer from the automated ice maker. He could hear it beneath the whirr of the starting and the clunk of the stopping of the air conditioning. He felt the sound as it crept around his house.

He stared at the white wall as he listened for the sound, it was blank save for the wood paneling on the lower half and the one window that stared back at him. Sunlight tried to feebly break through that window, but it only glowed through as if it were trickling through the spaces between the blinds to fall to the thick shag carpet and die. David sat in that glow, the only light on in the house, in his house, and stared through the floating dust for that sound.

I must find the source of that sound he thought irritably  He had first heard it, or had first thought he heard it while on the phone. The voice on the other end had droned into the background for a moment when it happened. He had shushed them. “What is it?” they had asked.

“Just be quiet,” he had responded, not unkindly, but, not kindly either. He had set down the phone and wandered into the living room, there was nothing out of the ordinary between the cigarette-burned corduroy couch at the one end of the room and the doorway he stood in at the other. Nothing, that is, except a sound that he might have heard, that just might be hanging in the air.

He hadn’t gone back to the phone. He had sat down on the floor, listening until the glowing light had bronzed, then faded from the windows. When at last he returned to the kitchen, the phone sat on the counter, dead air buzzing through it. It was a sound not unlike the one he heard, or thought that he heard, in the house. A dull droning that rackled his nerves.

Today David sat on the couch, staring listlessly at the wall and wishing that she wouldn’t come by. She had come by every day since he had left her on the counter, since he had left her waiting for his investigation until she was reduced to that dead air drone that he detested. When she knocked he would look through the peephole, the one umbilical that linked him to the outside, one with which he could see out, but through which no other interloper could spy into his house and perhaps listen in to that damned sound that he could not expel.

“David?” She would call “David are you home?”  Yes. He would think back at her but wouldn’t say. “David let me in.”

No. She could not come into his house.