Lynne's compiled musings


Short stories

An assortment of short stories. Will be updated whenever I write more. The first two are write-your-own ending.


Friday night. Amidst the sound of rain, the wailing of police sirens, and the distant clacking of a cargo train passing by, a cloaked figure stood seated, hunched in a darkened office. Heavy cigarette smoke filled the room, which was only lit with a small desk lamp. Like gunshots at a shootout, mechanical clangs created blast waves through the thick atmosphere. It was a typewriter, and as if chiselling marble, the man was pounding out word after word. The shining silver lettering on top of it said 'Clark Nova', and the whole typewriter itself exuded a mythic resonance, establishing its presence in the room. The typewriter's constant punches sped up, a premonition of a distant artillery strike. The man's expression was strained, and the cigarette he kept in his mouth was already trying to burn through its filter, in futile. Although the needle-like teeth of the cold were biting their way in to the man's skin, drops of sweat were dripping past the man's forehead. The marked sheet of paper was already extending way past the head of the machine, when an exclamation mark's engraving on the bottom right signaled the sheet's completion. Without even treating this as a nuisance, the man pulled the sheet out of the machine, put it in a neat pile, which was surrounded by dozens upon dozens of crushed sheets, took a new sheet, and threaded it through the machine. The new sheet's vellum-colored allure invited the words to come out of the man's mind, and the rhythmic mechanical march begun anew. The images of a marathon runner seeing the finish line, a lion's paw on the verge of touching its victim, and a fly's vain attempt to escape its silken webbed prison entered the man's mind. This was it. The last sheet that would bring the thunderous rumbling of the past ones to an explosion, and would tie the plot's conclusion to a satisfying end. The mechanical clattering suddenly stopped. The sheet's capacity was barely halfway used. What followed were a series of lonesome strikes, like deafening howitzer bangs bringing silence to small arms fire. Each one was set off by the typewriter head's movement, engraving a deep indentation into the paper. Slowly, one per line, the following words appeared on the paper: ...


1983, July, Antarctic Plateau, Dome C Soviet Antarctic base "НАДЕЖДА". Winter. Complete isolation.

Between the 10s of steaming hot radioisotope thermal generators, a large hut stands tall, lit by powerful projectors to melt snow. From it, deafening machine noises pierce the air.

Under the guise of a dark matter detection experiment, around the clock digging is done. The 3 kilometer deep cover of snow and ice is no match for red hot decaying nuclear matter. After 2 years of digging, the sonde is finally nearing the continental mass. Vast expanses of the so-called black gold, oil, the true target of the expedition, have been detected just below the crust. And Soviet leaders want to claim it, no matter the cost.

On July 22nd, success. The probe stops, with a violent grinding noise resonating all the way to the surface - it hit solid ground. The engineers change the speed to постепенно, retract the nuclear tip, and begin regular drilling. Liquefied soil is bursting through the pipe, and being shot a kilometer away from the base. During the summer, American satellites would no doubt see this, so time is of the essence.

July 27rd. Suspiciously close to the start of drilling, gas begins to bubble up. Ovations in the control room.

July 30th. Despite progress, no oil. More gas, yet no soil. A void, filled with nothing but very hot, high-pressure natural gas. Scientists decide to acoustically scan the void. Turning off the hot water means the drill may freeze solid in the ground within moments, but nevertheless, the risk must be taken. Machines are turned off. Deadly silence, after months of non-stop sound. Only the rumble of the gas escaping from the hole is heard. An acoustic impulse radar descends through the piping. Six hours of sweat and temperature readouts, the probe hits the drilling head, turning it into an antenna. The emitter activates, and a metallic ping travels through the chasm and the wall. But alas, the noise is too much to make a guess. Another one. Repeated pings, but too much noise to make an estimation. The engineer in charge notices the noise does not subside. Could it be the sound of gas whirling around the drilling head? They record the noise on tape. Wanting immediate help on how to proceed, they activate the 500 kilowatt AM radio transmitter at the specified frequency, and with no preamble, stream the sound out directly, hoping no one detects it.

The Americans, however, run around the clock radio frequency observation under a similar guise of a science experiment, and put it to tape.

After analysis, the tape is labelled as "Unknown vocalizations, July 30th, source: unknown". A thin sheet of paper lies next to the tape. Titled, "Contents", in bold. Below it, the following text: ...

The rumble

Friday. 3 AM. The epilogue to a cloudy, tiring summer week. After staying way past than acceptable, you're trying to sleep. Just as you drift off, a gentle, low-frequency rumbling knocks you back awake. "Must be a washing machine...", you think. 3 minutes later, you notice the rumble has changed tone, and gone up in pitch slightly. "Ah, the clothes are drying, getting lighter, so maybe that's why.". 2 more minutes, and the rumbling keeps getting higher in pitch and a little louder. You stand up, move around the room to figure if there's an odd resonance, to no avail. You open a window, thinking there's some truck parked outside, but the rumble seemingly permeates through walls and windows. You see several more people out sticking their heads to figure out where the noise is coming from. You go back to bed, thinking the rumble will soon pass by, but it doesn't it just keeps getting louder and higher in pitch. Reminded of similar incidents around the world you've heard, you reluctantly open your web browser and search for "the rumble", only to be blasted with all sorts of theories: "The souls of the damned are yelling out!", "It's a secret military project!", "A nuclear reactor has gone nuts!".

You decide to be scientific, and you turn on your sound spectral analyzer. The rumble's base frequency has gone up to 245Hz. At various multiples, there are overtones, which give an eerie, choir-type feel to it. ... 35 minutes after starting, the rumble now sounds like a million people are screaming out from the distance.

Almost thinking these really are the screams out the damned, you snap yourself back to reality, and you check the internet again. Some users on an IRC channel have started to collaborate. Though their discussion into the nature of the screaming has yielded no explanation, they decided to try to triangulate the origin, despite the fact it should be impossible for a sound to spread so far through the atmosphere. Using the start time and energy, they've found the epicentre - Seoul. But along with that, they've also detected hotspots around several of the largest cities in the world. Oddly, the screaming there begun after that in Seoul, with an offset that exactly matches the distance travelled at the speed of light.

The screaming finally starts to reduce in volume. But the mystery remains. You decide to look for any recent news mentioning Seoul, or in Korean in general. But every single news outlet is unusable, brimming with articles about how 2 of the top K-Pop boy stars have started dating each other. Annoyed, you try looking harder, but no one has reported anything but this for the past 2 hours. "There must be some other explanation...", you think, but soon, a small thought enters your mind, "...or a correlation.". "Millions of screaming girls can't cause such a phenomenon, right? Right?"....

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