Very Quiet And Very Far Away, Part One

1 Dec

… Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!

[Editor’s Note: Why are we yelling again? Did you run out of absinthe?]

No, I just don’t have any time to write a post today!

[Editor’s Note: Well, it looks like somebody is realizing that having a strict “once a day” upload schedule is really fucking inconvenient!]

Quiet, you!

[Editor’s Note: So, what are you gonna do? Do you have any spare posts saved up?]

Well… one, I guess… but it’s a work in progress!

[Editor’s Note: So?! Use it!]

But it’s not a post, it’s more of a story I’m working on! “Very Quiet And Very Far Away”, it’s a global mystery/horror story!

[Editor’s Note: … Like, that ‘Brighter Future’ crap you wrote once?]

Yeah, I guess!

[Editor’s Note: Oh, go for it! I think it’s physically impossible for you to make a worse story than that!]

… Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.

[Editor’s Note: No problem.]



*bzz, bzz*

Alice felt her phone buzzing in her pocket, with the same self important tone that all phones have. “Answer me, answer me, answer meeeeee.”

Alice didn’t answer him.

She gazed around the computer lab, keeping a watchful eye out for the teacher, who in turn was keeping a watchful eye for any and all shenanigans. High school students were not allowed to have a cell phone in class, as the teacher kept reminding everyone, not that it stopped them. She was remarkably strict on this point of late, due to an impending divorce that was keeping her stressed and tearful, not that it stopped her students from calling her a “bitch” and drawing filthy images on anything of hers that stayed still for any period of time.

As Alice watched, she saw a student stop his essay mid sentence to check his phone. She smiled to herself in self important glee, revelling in his minor break of the rules, despite the fact that she herself had to stop her essay to watch this.

She’s very young. It happens all the time.

Ignoring the actual work she had to do, Alice almost opened her mouth to tell the teacher, until she saw another student with his nose in a phone.

And another.

And another.

Alice whirled around in the spot, gasping as each and every student picked up their phone in turn and stared at it transfixed. The entire class, 36 students, sans Alice and the teacher, had checked their phone at exactly the same time.

Each recieved a text.

At exactly the same time.

And when Alice turned to the teacher to ask for some kind of punishment for the class, possibly involving corporal punishment and bondage, she saw the teacher frowning the biggest frown ever, forgetting about her custody battle for a brief moment, as she stared at her phone.

*bzz, bzz*

Alice let out an audible gulp, and slowly reached down to her pocket with trembling fingers.

She started shaking, her heart racing, as she looked at her phone.


Ignoring her sweaty fingers and trembling hands, she punched in the password, messing up twice before she finally managed to type it in.


She opened it.


Alice turned to her neighbour, who, without a word, showed her his phone.


She turned to her neighbour on the other side, who did the same.


Finally, Alice turned back to her essay.

It was gone.

And it’s place, was this.


Silence fell over the computer lab.

In the school proper, they could dimly hear somebody scream.

But it sounded very quiet.

And very far away.


Shin could barely keep a grimace of anger off his face as he stood in the elevator. Normally a very restrained man, the one thing he couldn’t stand is having to work to do something that he plain didn’t want to do in the first place, and struggling to reach his meeting with Miss Kasumi on the top floor qualified.

(Further more, there was an odd ringing in his head that seemed to get louder and louder as the day wore on. Shin wasn’t one to complain, and instead felt obligated to soldier on with a steady feeling of smug assurance.)

The only other person in the elevator was an old woman in a flithy outfit. One of the cleaning staff, he assumed, as he slowly inched as far away from her as he could manage in the confined space. He was brought up to respect his elders, of course, but he didn’t see how that applied to this old bat.

(As he stared at her filthy matted hair, he could almost see bugs crawling inside, and felt himself retch. The ringing got a step louder, and he gritted his teeth.)

He checked his briefcase, to give himself an excuse not to have to look at the woman, before checking his watch. He would have used this as an excuse to check his phone, except Shin forgot his phone on the train this morning, and it was probably in the hands of some filthy degenerate by now. This was yet another reason why Shin was having a very bad morning.

(Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring.)

He made the mistake of breathing in through his nose, and was greeted by the intolerable smell of grease, bleach, spoiled milk, and, perplexingly, ham. Shin grimaced in disgust as he pressed his briefcase closer and closer to him, in fear of the mysterious smell somehow infecting him.

(Shin’s headache was slowly getting worse, and he blamed the inhuman monster in front of him. Ring ring, ring ring.)

On the wall of the elevator was a small electronic screen, above the floor read out (Almost there, he thought to himself), which gave a small weather report along with the time. Shin hoped if he stared at the charmingly simple cartoon sun and cloud, the old lady would eventually just disapear.


(Ring, ring. Ring, ring. It was getting worse.)

He chanced a glance at the old lady yet again. Only this time, she was staring at the wall, pointing at it while holding her toothy mouth wide open.

Shin turned to where she was pointing: The electronic weather report. But in that split second when he turned to the old lady, it changed.


The cartoon sun and cartoon cloud with their cartoon grins had vanished, to be replaced with a simple message.


Or, translated:


Shin felt his heart skip a beat.


He turned to the old lady, his fingers clenched painfully around the briefcase. “Did you do this?” he asked, almost a whisper.

She shook her head, no.

He looked back at the screen.



He raised the briefcase above his head, as if in a trance.




Shin brought it down to the base of her skull.

The old lady screamed.

But it sounded very quiet.

And very far away.


Dr. Carrol pressed against his heater, wrapped head to toe in blankets, and yet again wished he brought something to read.

When he was assigned to this scientific Antarctic station above all of his other collegues (a fact that he first thought of with pride, now with an almost depressing irony), he was worried primarily with survival. But after that had been taken care of, the hidden crisis of boredom reared it’s ugly head.

Cards, he thought to himself. I’d kill for a deck of cards.

He chanced stretching over to the computer console, giving up his risidual heat to grab a frozen chocolate bar on top of it. When he was first assigned to this scientific Antarctic station above all of his other collegues (nope, still depressing), he insisted on trying to eat healthy. But it only took one frozen sandwich cutting open his lips to sway him.

God, where is she? Carrol sighed. A major part of their monitoring equipment was broken, so Ms. Lewis was travelling to a neighbouring outpost for a replacement. Without that, their equipment couldn’t pick up any of the important weather signals they were tossed out to this ass end of nowhere to recieve.

Which made it very confusing when the equipment suddenly recieved a signal as the display lit up in excitement.

Carrol frowned for a second, until the importance of what just happened finally sank in. But that’s impossible.

He thought a little more

But it happened.

He forgot about the extreme cold for a moment, and for a second, the scientist who accepted this post finally broke through. He scrambled to the electric read-outs, but the diagrams usually representing the weather readings were gone.


He stood there, his brain furiously trying to muddle through what this could mean. Carrol felt a tiny sliver of fear rear it’s head through his sleep addled depression, before becoming a full blown terror.


A loud roar of an engine suddenly rang through the air, followed by a “thump” as Ms. Lewis finally returned, at exactly the wrong time for poor Dr. Carrol.

“I’m back!” she called, all the way from the door to the other side of the outpost at the equipment room.”Dr. Mathias sends her regards! Did I miss anything?”


Dr. Carrol reached out to the electronic read-out, and turned it off.

“No, nothing at all.”

He could hear her as she walked through the outpost.

But it sounded very quiet.

And very far away.


“How many?” asked the General, sipping his coffee with false calm.

“All of them, sir.” the Scientist fidgeted back and forth as she stood there. She was much worse at false calm.

The General paused. All of them?” he asked, dropping his coffee to the table of his darkly lit conference room with a thump, spilling some on to the beautiful oak.

He didn’t seem to care.

“Yes, sir. All of them. Every phone, every email, every computer, every screen, every single electronic interface in the world got the message.” The Scientist read the information the others prepared for her off her clipboard. She liked having a clipboard to carry around, it made her feel somehow more official.

The General thought about this for a moment. “Were all the messages the same?”

“No, sir. We’re recieving reports of some messages specifying the people involved by name, and the message alters itself depending on the native language of the viewer. There’s been some slight differentiating on the wording, depending on the language, but nothing signifigant.”

The General grimaced. “What a clusterfuck.”

The Scientist didn’t feel the need to bother agreeing with him.

“How is this even possible?”

“It isn’t, sir.”

“Well, what a great damn help you’ve been.”

“Yes, sir.”

The General pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers. “What’s the backlash so far?”

“Each government has personally taken the time to declare their uninvolvement in the matter, but that hasn’t stopped the media from declaring a conspiracy. The U.S has reports of riots, Japan is attempting to convince the populace that it’s perfectly normal, and the U.K is just pretending it’s never happened. The world’s scared, sir.” the Scientist almost admitted that she was too, but she had the strangest idea the General wouldn’t be terribly receptive to that.

Before the General could comment, the Scientist continued, “We also have a 30% increase of homicides world wide the moment the Message hit. I have some excerpts from a case in Japan, sir-”

The General grimaced, and dropped his head in to his hands. “No. Find out what… where the Message came from, and we… we need damage control. Now g- get out… of here.”

“Yes, sir.” the Scientist hesitated, pulling the excerpts back in to the clipboard. “Sir, are you are okay?”

The General nodded, without pulling his head from his hands. “Fine, fine. I’ve just… just been hearing this… odd ringing all day.”

The clipboard suddenly got very cold in the Scientist’s hands.


“It’s been… getting louder. Can- can you hear it?”

The Scientist started to shake.

“Yes, sir.” she lied.

The General shot her a weak smile. “Oh, t- thank god!”

She shot him a weak smile back, and turned to leave.

“S- say, miss? I don’t suppose you know where they put my gun? I lost it in the move over here, see, and I was really hoping-”

The Scientist broke in to a run.

She could hear the General calling her back she ran.

But it sounded very quiet.

And very far away.


[Editor’s Note: … You were just looking for an excuse to say “very quiet and very far away” over and over again, weren’t you.]

Hey, fuck you!

[Editor’s Note: No, no, it’s fine! I’m sure all great stories start by repeating the same 6 words over and over again till the audience wants to tear out your balls through your ears!]

… I honestly want you to die.

[Editor’s Note: Yeah, I love you too.]


3 Responses to “Very Quiet And Very Far Away, Part One”

  1. Bob Bonsall December 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    This is a great and ominous start. Would love to see more of this.

  2. Tim Hurley December 2, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Ditto for me on wanting to see more. Reminds me of a Stephen King story called ‘Cell’, where everyone got a call at the same time. Those that answered their cellphones went batshit crazy and killed anyone nearby, while those that didn’t (or didn’t have one) were left to pick up the pieces.


  1. There’s Some Thing In The Snow: The Thing 2011 Review, Part One | A VERY STRANGE PLACE - January 18, 2014

    […] the landscape. Inside is a man listening to a staticy radio, either in case it starts sending out The Message, or because he thinks this is actually a Silent […]

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