I hear a sound


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I hear a sound,
a muffled

As alone
as a latchkey
kid can

watching cartoons
on a thirteen inch woodgrain
television while sitting at
the foot of my bed;

[The bedroom door closed
to keep my imagination out]

I hear a sound,
a faint, constant hiss;

I reached out and twisted the
short silver knob on
the television until
it clicked, turning
the power off;

I could hear the static
on the gray glass tube
crackling as the picture

I placed the palm of my hand
on the screen to absorb
the charge; the static
tickled my fingers
and dissipated;

The hissing continued
but it wasn’t the television.
The sound was coming from
elsewhere in the

I stood up and peered
around the room.
All was quiet and still;

I walked over to my bedroom
door and opened it slowly,
halting at only a few centimeters, then
peeked through the slender crack.

The hissing grew slightly louder.

Once I could see that the coast
was clear, I opened my door wide.
I stared out into the old 1950’s ranch
style house.

I could still hear the sound.

I took a breath and worked up the
courage to step out of my doorway
Into the hall.

I began carefully searching the rooms
nearest to me for the origin of the noise;
first, my mother’s room, then the


The hiss grew louder.

I circled the den and then the living room,
opening closets, pausing to listen.

The sound continued, louder
and closer now;

I entered the kitchen. Maybe it’s the
microwave? I thought, Maybe it’s the refrigerator, or the oven?
But it was none of
those things;

I turned and stood at the threshold
before the final room. That room.
The room that every child fears deep down inside.
The one room in the house that we avoid
at all costs.
In my case, it was a dusty addition room
which had, at one time, been a carport
far before my parents bought
the house.

It was the room opposite my bedroom at
the far end of the house.
That dark room, always glaring at me
as I exited my bedroom door; always sending
monsters to chase behind me as soon as
my back was turned.
The kind of room that makes you run for your
bed at night once you flip off the final
light switch.

I hear a sound.
A continuous hissing sound.

I ignore my instincts and step into the room.
The dated, dark brown wood paneling on
the walls, the musty blue Astroturf floor.

The sound grows louder.

I slowly walk about the room.
Everything is calm and quiet.
The afternoon sunlight pours through
windows that line the far wall,
its soft rays highlight objects in the room.

An old brown couch, an old typewriter desk accompanied by bundles of mail bound
with rubber bands;


The room seeming dark still, even with the
sun shining in.


I searched the desk drawers, I searched
beneath the couch cushions.


I looked around the room until my eyes
fell upon the closet door.
That had to be the source! I thought.
I walked to the closet and slowly
pulled open the folding door.


Inside was everything you’d expect to find in a spare closet.
Christmas wrapping paper, shoes, coats,
folded paper bags, cobwebs clinging to
junk of all kinds.
I looked upward to a dusty shelf at the top
of the closet and my eyes fixed upon an object.
A small wooden cube, 6″ by 6″ , sitting to one side of the shelf near the edge.


This is it! I thought, This is where the hiss is coming from!
I reached out with a cautious hand and plucked the artifact from the shelf.
Upon closer inspection I could see that
it was a radio of sorts.
The top was perforated aluminum,
obviously a speaker cover.
There was a small telescopic antenna
at one corner,
a long rectangular button (on/ off switch) spanned the opposite side, corner to corner.
The four sides of the box had a wood grain appearance and the bottom was of aged
yellow plastic.

The hissing, of course, was coming from the speaker.
The sound, upon closer listening, was reminiscent of a lost transmission or
radio noise between stations.
I moved the box closer to my ear.
I focused on the hiss and I could hear a
washed out voice behind the static. Maybe its a broadcast? I thought, or a far off frequency?
I turned the box over and opened the battery cover and the sound stopped abruptly.

It startled me to see that beneath the cover there was an empty slot where a 9v battery should have been.

It was empty.

How was a radio working without
A power source? I wondered.

Why did it stop when I opened it?

These thoughts rushed
through my mind.
I stood for a moment in the silence.
I turned and gazed back through the house
towards my bedroom.
It seemed a million miles away.
I then closed the closet door and walked
quickly from the room.

Tingles ran up and down my spine.

Monsters began to crawl from the shadows
of the room and creep after me.
Hideous slimy things, some with horns, some
with tails, red eyes, sharp teeth, gnashing,
biting, growling, crawling on all fours.


It tricked me! I thought. It lured me in!
That room! That wretched room!

I began to pick up speed. I ran past the kitchen, through the den.

I felt the darkness looming behind me.

I reached the hall outside of my bedroom.
I could sense the awful creatures
breathing down my neck.

I could feel their hands near me as I made
it through my bedroom door.
Without turning around, without opening
my eyes,
I slammed the door behind me
and leapt for the safety of my bed.

I could hear a sound,
Thup-Thump. Thup-Thump!

My heart racing in my chest.

Once again, all is quiet and still.

I calm myself, open my eyes and sit up.

I look down to see the little radio still
In my grip.

I sat it down on my desk and studied
it for a moment. Nothing special, I thought.
Just a radio. A cheap little radio.

I turned my eyes to the television.

I reached out and twisted
The short silver knob
until it clicked, turning
the power on.

The glass screen came
alive with animation
and color.
Just in time for
my favorite
show, I thought.

I let out a
sigh of relief and
laid myself down,
resting on
my side.

Alone in my little
world, distracted by
afternoon cartoons;

As brave as a
latchkey kid
can be.

©2015 Brandon Hildreth



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