Silence. The complete absence of any perceptible sound. Utter silence.
For the first time since whatever happened had happened, Athens felt safe enough to take stock of her surroundings. Floor? Yep, seemed pretty firm. Walls? Yeah, though there were cracks up and down each of the four walls in her tiny home. The shape and random intersections of the cracks caused Athens to think of the many crumpled balls of paper that she and classmates would get in trouble for throwing during lectures in high school.
“Wait, where did that thought even come from?”, Athens asked her mind. She chuckled slightly at her flighty thoughts.
“Only I would think of paper ball fights when the world is going to hell around me. Focus, girl!”
Athens willed herself to her feet, so that the inventory could continue. Favorite chair? Check. Still here, though, covered by all of the other junk that she collected. Tables? Knick-Knacks? Check and Check. A sudden burst of wind startled Athens from her work, and as she looked above her, she realized why. Roof? Nope. And this was not a “parts of the roof are gone” kind of situation. When Athens looked above her, all she saw was a blue, cloudless sky. It seemed surreal that the sun was even shining. For the first time, Athens realized that the ringing was gone, and with it returned a sense of calm and serenity.
She shook her limbs, removing whatever remained of the tingly deadness in them, and continued to stare at the void in her house. It didn’t look like a wind had just ripped the roof from the home. Rather, the edges were clean, as if removed by surgical precision. Whoever, whatever, had taken her roof away had done so in a manner that might portend it being put back on. But…why? She decided that this was just too utterly strange. Why would anyone remove a roof? It is so…
random. Just, random.
As a sense of normalcy began settling upon her like a comfortable blanket, Athens mouth opened slowly, and them quickly contorted into a soundless scream. Her eyes closed tightly, trying to block out the sensory assault that was now having it’s way with her. Dropping to her knees, she instinctively curled up into a ball, rocking…willing “this” to end. The shrill sound had returned, and it was ripping her apart from the insides. She could feel her stomach twisting and turning. Her ears began to bleed, and her heart thumped and thudded erratically against her chest.
As the sound grew from shrill into the bulky, incensed sound of an angry horn, unbeknownst to Athens, the crinkly patterns on her walls increased, accompanied by ripping and tearing sounds that she could not pick up on because her body was nearing shock. Then slowly at first, barely perceptibly, parts of the walls began to disappear…….