Jane hears hundreds of sounds at once. An engine starting. Bees buzzing. A vacuum whirring. Leaves rustling. Her head pulses with the noise. Then, she hears a bell from far away and listens. She recognizes its sound for she has heard it already. She hums and the bell rings again gently. She sings to it and is surprised as she hears herself. She sings and listens, catching the sound of footsteps and the wind behind her words. She weaves the different sounds that she hears into her melody: a mother's speech, children's calls. She loves doing this she discovers. The farther noises that she had heard fade as she goes on, but she adds them to her song anyway. She does not stint over the harshest or the most upsetting. She sings people's cries. Their threats. Yells. Pain. Singing, she finds, makes these beautiful and her song fuller.

Presently, Jane's song gains a flow. Its line lengthens. The words come finer; they gain a kind of smoothness like rocks washed in a stream. She sings now without stopping. She chants of all she has heard until the other sounds she had heard, that had been growing fainter for her, no longer reach her ear.

Jane's voice, in time, attains so high a pitch that she strains to hear herself. She fails to catch the sense of her own singing. She does not know if she sings well or poorly. Her song has become to her, in fact, more like silence than any music. So she spends her life singing and knows, that at the end, when she dies, all she will have is silence.

Norbert Kovacs

 Norbert Kovacs lives and writes in Hartford, Connecticut. His stories have appeared in Westview, Gravel, STORGY, Ariel Chart, and The Write Launch. Norbert's website is

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