Some Visible Sound

This story is related to “Lost In The Flooded Forest,” a story you can begin at synthesisweekly.com/lost-forest-pt-1/

A hole lay open in the ground, three feet across, paved into a circle by very old stones. All was silent in the forest surrounding this well. The sun shone. A small, unseen creature momentarily exposed itself by a falling branch.

A massive sound, as of an explosion; dirt, stones, tree roots burst into the air. As the forest settled into silence again, a boy could be seen lying facedown in the debris, his black clothes covered in the sandy dirt he’d so explosively emerged from. No one else was around, so there was no one to ask him, when he finally sat up, why he hadn’t just come up through the open well.

The boy sat there for a long time, not bothered by the dirt covering him, trying to take in his open surroundings. He’d been in a subterranean library for what seemed like millennia. He was out in sunlight now for the first time… in a long time.

What captivated the boy’s supernatural senses the most was the sky, and what he saw in it. Something was ringing through the air in chimes; a deep, rhythmic gong that could be seen, although it was sound, and each strike of that incredible note seemed to solidify the sky for a moment: caused it to take on giant crystalline shapes. It was like seeing giant stained glass windows blocking the sky into sections. Howl’s body was inundated, and overwhelmed, by the deep sound.

Fifteen minutes went by. The boy’s face was tilted up, and it stayed that way. A beetle slowly crawled up onto his knee, looked at the boy with beetle-curiosity, then climbed down again and walked off.

There was a sharp intake of breath from the boy, and he shook out his blonde hair and stood up. His gaze turned down toward his clothes now, as if he were trying to remember why they were so dusty.

Howl was unaware of the water well nearby, unaware that it was watching him. It was an opening to the library that had swallowed Howl alive, for centuries; the library was in fact a conscious entity, in its own right. It remembered what Howl didn’t. This immortal boy had once been a grown man, a tired, frightened soul that the library had lured into itself.

The chiming rhythm sounding through the sky, reverberating through the air relentlessly (and not altogether unpleasantly), was starting to make the boy sweat. His coat was thrown to the ground, revealing clean black silk underneath. Howl walked off into the trees, leaving the well alone in its forest once more.

Howl was born in the wastes north of Hithlum, where only beasts and witches dare roam. He was raised by two old hags, Tabby and Wiles, who had an unhealthy fascination towards the literary arts. Howl now resides in a well-furnished cave off South Rim Trail, complete with an old iBook and Wi-Fi.