Today’s contribution to the Sirens blog tour is a piece of flash fiction from Tamsin Showbrook. Enjoy!
LISTEN AND REPEAT
by Tamsin Showbrook
It was okay in the beginning.
I first heard the song on YouTube. There were a few versions with different names, but I liked the one called Kanagawa Waves ’cos that was the smoothest. It didn’t have an actual video, just that picture – the one everyone knows but they never know its name? Where the boats look like they’re getting swallowed by the sea. Like there’s nothing the people on them can do to stop it.
I listened to it all the time and I shared it with my mates. Everyone could download it for free. I went to the original source – that blog by Netu-1. They – no one knows whether Netu-1 is a man or a woman – they said they heard it at the beach one day. Not close by, more like it was coming from out at sea, but somehow their phone’s mic picked it up. They cleaned it up and posted it, and after a week they had over 200,000 followers and then… Well, you know.
There’s no way of describing it. Everyone says different things when I ask them. For me, it’s like someone sorted out that shitty whale music for meditation, so it makes sense and there’s proper notes and… Yeah.
People have tried to copy it, haven’t they? But no one can, and no one’s heard ‘the real thing’ since, or if they have, they’ve not hit record quick enough.
I got the same effect as everyone: made me feel dead chilled out while I listened and then when I turned it off just… buzzing. Like I could do anything. Anything. The stuff I’ve done, I mean… Yeah.
I saw things more clearly too, y’know? And I lost weight. Didn’t feel like I needed to eat anymore; had to think about it. And I got this… healthy glow. I know now there’s nothing inside though; I’ve seen the reports.
I didn’t go home for a couple of months after I started listening, but then I lost my job and, yeah…
Mum cried when she opened her door. She hugged me, kept saying, “Oh, my poor baby!”
But I was fine.
I am fine.
Now I’m in here, I’ll be fine.
The riots and the collapse didn’t surprise me. I mean, there’s that many people like me now, stuck in these places, not contributing. Because of what we did while we were listening. I still can’t believe what I did to that guy. And there’ve been all those people who just let themselves fade to nothing…
I know the world governments teamed up to delete the file, even though some people still think it was planted by one of them in the first place. But you can’t tell me it’s not still out there. Have you got it on your phone? I won’t tell, honest. Just give me the overture. Go on. I’m alright.
I don’t need much.
Just a few bars.
Like in the beginning.
Tamsin lives in Manchester, UK, where she taught English in secondary schools until she had her two kids. Now she tutors part-time and writes a variety of stuff into the depths of night most days. She loves reading – can’t get enough Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman or David Mitchell – as well as hiking and running. Her best ideas do tend to come to her while she’s exercising, which means she has to make frequent scribble-stops and will never achieve marathon-level fitness, but she’s okay with that.
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