Friday, March 06, 2009

Listen to me, listen. A short story.

Let me read it to you. Single click on arrow

Many years ago something happened in the village. Exactly what it was, no one has yet discovered. If ever the village elders are asked about it, their faces drop and a strange mist comes over their eyes.
It’s said that several of them talk in their sleep. Whispering at first, then calling out louder and louder, eyes wide open staring at .. nothing. ‘Listen, listen to me, listen’. Their voices strange and unrecognisable. ‘Listen to me, listen, listen, LISTEN’It is told that long ago a strange man spent his days and nights wandering the streets and alleyways of the village. A bent and wizened old man, shuffling along, his clothes torn and dirty. He would sidle up to folk and say ‘listen to me, Iisten to me’ but no one listened.
Some say that entire families disappeared one night. Others that a deadly ailment swept through the village killing men women and children. But this is all hear-say, for the only people who really know what happened seem unable to let the words pass their lips.
The church stands unused. Its interior ravaged by fire generations ago. Its doors and windows are boarded up. Children are told to keep well away from the graveyard. They are told that the spirit of the strange old man drifts between the headstones. Sometimes the wind whistles through the churchyard when all around is still. Many claim to hear the wind hiss ‘listen, listen’.
What was it he wanted to tell them? It was important but nobody listened. I don’t suppose the truth of what occurred will ever be known. Except to those who were there. Those who will carry their secret to the grave.






25 comments:

  1. Keith, isn't strange how our language evolves? When we travel to a different country or even state, words morph into something different? "Listen up" is one of those phrases that defies explanation. Yet we know...as a teacher I suppose I have used that phrase as we marched out the door to one or another function. "Listen up people, we are going to need to be very quiet as we enter the building. The clowns are all mimes!"

    b

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  2. great spooky story Keith! I could have used u at all those sleep overs the kids has years ago!! xo

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  3. I am new to the world of "Blogging" having been introduced by my son-in-law Whitesnake. Your site is the most interesting I have come across, your stories, poems & photo's are inspiring. I may even become a blogger myself.

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  4. a spooky one. i love it!!!

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  5. Great story, Keith. Yes, I know what you mean about how odd it can seem to import phrases that don't fit normally in speech this side of the Atlantic. Maybe I watch too much TV, but Listen Up seemed like one that would fit ok... though certainly not in your story!

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  6. Mysterious and spooky...this reminds me of the perfect story to be told around the campfire. Great read!

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  7. OOOO.
    Very nice.

    Thanks for posting that one!

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  8. Please tell me that one of those old people has written the secret down to be opened upon his or her death!!!! Great story!

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  9. Oh I want the rest of that story..I want to listen,or read anyway.

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  10. Oh that bloody old story......
    Yeah right......the inn ran out of ale....... thats why everyone nicked off!

    A village withot ale aint worth being in.....

    Oh and you ain't no Ghost!
    I'm gonna tell Rosey on you!

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  11. Great visual of the wizened old man. Surely someone wrote down in an old book what happened that long ago night.
    And surely you intend to tell us all what it was.

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  12. Did you know that people's comments are invisible until this little "Leave your comment" window pops up? It's like they are black on black or something.

    Anyway, your story was visible and I'm glad it was! It brought me right back to a trip I made to England a few years ago and a church and graveyard we visited. Thanks for the memory!

    Great job, BTW!

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  13. Well read Keith. I hope I sleep tonight:)
    Now over to Rosey's.

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  14. Wondering, wondering. Good post - I see the images and feel the chill.

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  15. this is an engaging, mysterious read. that unused church stand made my hair stand

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  16. Wow!!!Some words are meant to die down and be buried.Nice post.

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  17. you are such a great story teller.

    I really enjoyed listening while reading at the same time.

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  18. I do love spooky stories and this was a really good one. I can almost hear the wind hissing "listen." We have really slow internet at home (ugh) so I will have to wait until tomorrow at work (shh--don't tell) to hear you read it. That will be a real treat!

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  19. Amazing, especially hearing you read it.
    Thank you.

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  20. So spooky, so haunting... I love the concept of village elders. We need more of these now in these terrifying economic times!

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  21. What a cool and spooky little tale! It taps into that feeling we've all had at one time or another, that we've somehow managed to miss some very important bit of information.

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  22. Wonderful story, so well- read.

    (I didn't know you could put just sound on Youtube; I'll have to investigate.)

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  23. Oh, this could be the seed to a story much bigger than this! It was good...intriguing, interesting and it certainly left me wanting to know more.

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  24. Rather like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," I'm left with a sense of horror, something unresolved, something the community did not have the moral resolve to accomplish and so suffered. The ending makes me think of lost insights and histories that are somehow not passed on from one generation to the next. After all, what could an old man say? Interesting story.

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