When he first noticed the hum, he searched high and low. He could not find the hum but he could hear it. A child’s hum. A girl’s hum. A “Hummmmmmmm. Hummmmm..” hum. He heard it night and day in the house, in the garage, in the shed. He asked his wife. She could not hear the hum. He asked his daughter. She could not hear the hum. He asked his cat. The cat could hear the hum but the cat merely puffed up its tail and ran away. The cat did not like the hum.
When he first saw the girl, she was standing in the shadows in the yard, between the shed and the fence. A white dress. No shoes. Dirty feet and hands. Grey skin. Red eyes. Red lips. She looked at him and opened her mouth then closed it with a “Hummmmm. Hummmm. Hummmmm”. He said “hello. Are you lost?” And as he moved closer the hum got louder. She became frightened. She moved away. She hummed faster and louder and louder still till he stopped and backed up saying “okay, I’m sorry. It’s okay…” Then she vanished before his eyes. He didn’t tell his wife.
She came back. That night when he went downstairs to get a snack, and he shut the fridge, she was there beside the sink. “Hummm. Hummm.”. He dropped a chicken leg. She hummed. He swore. She hummed. He moved closer and she hummed louder. His wife yelled “can you grab me some water?”. He jumped. The girl pointed up and shooke her head “no…” And hummed more. He looked away toward the stairs and yelled “honey maybe you should…” The girl hummed faster shaking her head side to side “hum hum hum himm hummm hum humm..” and promptly disappeared.
He did not tell his wife.
The girl came back.
He learned to stay back. He learned to ignore, kind of. He learned to not freak out when he awoke to see her face inches from his in the middle of the night. Humming then sliding into the abyss of the rooms inky blackness. He told his psychiatrist. He told his best friend. He told his wife.
One night the storms boiled and roiled above the house. The man had a headache. The man was mad at his boss. The man went to bed and could not sleep. He heard the hum. He followed sound downstairs. He followed the sound outside. He followed the sound to the garden. He saw the girl standing. Above the small special place where his wife had buried the ashes of her first daughter. The daughter from her first marriage. As the man approached he knew already who the girl was. He said “Hello Deirdre” and the girl stopped humming. She pointed toward the upstairs window. She looked angry. She shook her head “no”. She hummed.
The man’s wife looked outside. She saw the man in the special place. She hummed as she put on her dressing gown. She went downstairs and outside. “Dale..” she began “did you see her again.. where is she..” The girl pointed at his wife and began to scream.
The scream ended as the girl disappeared, melding into the night. He asked his wife. She could not hear the scream. He asked his daughter. She could not hear the scream. He asked his cat. The cat could hear the scream but the cat merely puffed up its tail and ran away. The cat did not like the scream.
Neither did the man.
Soon, he would need to find a way to end the scream.
The girl screamed day and night. The girl pointed at his wife and screamed from the foot of his bed.
Soon, the man would need to find a way to end the scream.
He ran to the bathroom late at night, leaving the girl screaming at his wife. He sat and covered his ears and wrapped a towel around his head. The screaming continued. The screaming was muffled but there. He tried to sleep in the tub. He wrapped another towel and another and late in the eve the screaming stopped.
He slept. He woke. There was a hum. A man’s hum. A man stood inside the shower curtain. He stood with the girl. They hummmed. They hummed a “hummmm. Hummmmm. Hummm.”
She looked like him, the humming man. She sounded like him. They hummed as one. They hummed as one and pointed toward the bedroom.
He knew what to do.
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