by | Jan 28, 2013 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 14 comments

I wrote this in response to Little McFerrin’s five sentence fiction prompt for this week: ringing.

By Laura McHale Holland

69953132_62128c44e7_mHe wants quiet to wash over his head like cool river water on a blistering day. When the day settles down and the moon waxes or wanes, he remembers when the only sounds he heard were the wind in the maple outside his window, a coyote howling in the hills or car wheels pulling into his drive. He once had long hours of peace, but he can no longer feel them in his bones. The damage is permanent. He puts on his headphones, turns up the volume and finds a pulsing counterpoint to the endless ringing in his ears.

Photo by jbelluch

Want to read other writers’ takes on “ringing”? http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=234250


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  1. jerry

    Ears phones, saved me from a lot of situations

  2. Eve Trout

    I love these little stories but I always want more.

  3. Robin Leigh Morgan

    Disregard my first post, it had errors- THANKS

    Hi Laura,

    I’ll take you up this week for another 5 sentence response using the same prompt of “RINGING”. and in addition, I’m adding the word “HEADPHONES” as a second prompt.

    All I want is to escape to a place where I can have peace and quiet; and perhaps, that why I use those noise blocking HEADPHONES when I get home; but, alas, the noise of the crazy day at work keeps RINGING in my ears, from which I desperately want to escape.

    So, I decide to watch one of my favorite old TV programs online on NetFlix using these same HEADPHONES to hear the audio.

    You would think this should be enough to stop this outside annoyance from RINGING in my mind, but it doesn’t.

    All I want to some peace and quiet away from the Rat Race I which I apparently must live in, and now what happens; the RINGING starts anew, even louder than ever.

    Then instant I finally decide to cast away the HEADPHONES from my head, I wake up; it has all been a dream, a dream from the days I had to work and this racket had been a reality I had to face each day; but now, being retired for three years, it’s sheer bliss knowing I can have the peace and quiet I had always wanted to have then.

    BTW – my book just got its first review on Amazon

  4. admin

    That makes me curious, Jerry. Tell me more …

  5. admin

    Thanks for your comment, Eve. I’m starting up a newsletter I’m starting up (on the advice of a Laura Pepper Wu, a writer and consultant who knows a lot about how to promote books). I’m leaning toward having one of the features be a story that continues month to month. I won’t try to make each episode an independent story. I just want to create a satisfying whole. I’m drawn to one of the characters in my flash fiction collection, The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song. She’s the narrator in “I’ll Have To Tell Him.” It seems she has a lot to say, so I want to give her the space to say it. I think you would enjoy that.

  6. admin

    I love the way you’re always overflowing with creativity, Robin Leigh. Congrats on the Amazon review!

  7. Jo-Anne Teal

    Beautifully written, Laura. The imagery of quiet washing over his head “like cool river water on a blistering day” is simply gorgeous.

  8. admin

    Thanks, Jo-Anne. Imagery is magical. I have to pause and give thanks whenever my regular thought process slows down enough to let the images flow. I just stopped by your blog and love what you wrote in response to the prompt. I’ll leave a comment shortly.

  9. K R Smith

    I, too, liked the descriptions here. I wouldn’t have pictured “quiet” as something tangible unless I had read this. Very interesting!

  10. Susan

    Seems to me he likes his “alone” time, but knowing you, my friend, that time could be shattered in an instant. :) It would be an okay shattering – just something to get out of the doldrums. HUGS!


  11. admin

    Thank you, KR. It is fascinating and inspiring to see how many different directions people can take stories in, starting with one word.

  12. admin

    Thanks for your thoughts, Susan. :o) I think he wants relief from the incessant ringing in his ears. It is a medical condition called tinnitis. It can be severe or mild, and it can really affect the quality of a person’s life.

  13. Sunni Morris


    You’re right about tinnitis. I’ve lived with it for 32 years. It is hard to get used to, especially in the beginning when you think you’ll go mad.


  14. admin

    My husband has had tinnitis for decades, too, Sunni. He’s a master carpenter, and early in his career, he didn’t protect his ears from the sound of the power tools. There was also a loud crash in a very small, enclosed space on a job one day, and that made what was an intermittent condition a chronic one. It never goes away.

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