There is a weird sound that haunts our small little town. It is an unexplained phenomenon, the source unknown, many hypotheses unable to render the secrets of the desert open. Many have tried to explain it, several legends talking about spirits of ancient colonizers, scientists hypothesizing that it could have something to do with the Earth’s magnetic field, or with the fact that our town is in the middle of the vast desert of the continent. The truth is, nobody really knows what this noise is, and when someone asks one of us about it, the response that they will most likely receive is “it’s the desert”.
That is the nature of Fiery Creek, our little town in the middle of the desert. Well, that is not the whole truth, but that was what Samuel Reed knew when he arrived to our town. He had heard about it, and was interested in discovering the source of the noise. So he had packed a suitcase with clothes and money for a month, he had filled the gas tank of his Prius, and, saying his goodbyes, he had driven all of the way to Fiery Creek for a vacation of exploration in this desert community.
When he arrived, he booked a room in Rita’s inn, where he was going to spend the rest of his stay in Fiery Creek. He first noticed the sound when he started to unpack in his room. It was a mix, he noted, between the buzz of a bee and the white noise you can hear when you put a seashell to your ear. He was excited to hear it, and did not even finish unpacking his stuff. He started his research earlier than planned.
He questioned everyone. He wanted to know when they had first heard it, whether the elders had heard it as children, whether anyone recalled a time without the screech, as he called it. The responses that we gave him were all truthful: the stories talked about the sound before the first settlers founded Fiery Creek at the time of the Gold Fever. In fact, the aboriginal men talked about that sound in their stories, and the place was apparently a pilgrimage area for the tribes of the Midwest. But none of these were any helpful for him, as he could not establish whether the phenomenon had any particular cause. Much as some of the townsfolk tried to persuade him to enjoy his vacation and stop his research, as he would find nothing good enough to make it worthy, his enthusiasm did not waver.
He then searched the library, with its archives, to see whether there was anything that he could find. He did not have any luck with biographies and books about the town, but he did find something interesting in the files of the archive. A newspaper from the 4th March 1962 stated that a couple of tourists, husband and wife, had died in the town after reporting an extremely loud noise that nobody else could hear. That was not what he had expected to find, yet it was interesting enough to study the phenomenon. There was no description on how the Dylans had died, or why, and he could not find any other information about them in posterior newspapers.
Samuel knew that he had to solve the mystery. It was in the tip of his fingers, and still so far away… There was only one place where there would be reports on the deaths of the Dylan couple, but it would be very difficult to get permission to access the police files. He then had an idea: instead of trying to get the police to give him permission to check the autopsy reports, he would look for the coroner himself. He soon found that the coroner at that time had been a certain Walter Simons, and he found out that he was still alive, and that he lived in Fiery Creek.
Samuel paid him a visit. When an elderly Walter Simons opened the door to his house, Samuel greeted.
“Hello, Mr Simons, do you have some time? I would like to talk about certain deaths that happened in this town in 1962, if you don’t mind”.
Walter grimaced. “Those”.
After a few seconds of awkward silence, Samuel talked again. “Yes, sir, I just…”
“You are like those men that crossed the country with the Gold Fever. They were persistent. Too persistent. That couple found horrible deaths of extreme pain and suffering. Don’t go any further in your enquiries about them”. He closed the door.
Samuel knocked again, but he did not receive any response. He tried to look for other leads that would help him with his research, but the townsfolk all started to respond in the same way in which Walter had done it. Soon, his month ended, with several leads including that couple from Minnesota that had died horrible deaths, and he went back to his native Oregon.
We do not know how long it took him to realize. Maybe a couple of hours of driving? Of course, he had grown accustomed to the noise, and had unconsciously trained his brain to ignore it during that month in Fiery Creek. What he noticed, at some point in his trip back to Oregon, was that the noise had not left him. It was there, with him, a buzz that never stopped. He also noticed that the sound’s volume incremented with time. In less than a month, he was back in his car, back to the desert, back to Fiery Creek.
His second stay was not as enjoyable as the first one. He would sleep in his car, and wander the streets of Fiery Creek, moaning. He behaved as a lunatic, and we avoided him. He would stay in one place for hours, rocking back and forth, mouth and eyes open in a crazy expression. He hyperventilated and would suddenly start running. The sound was deafening in his ears. One day he ran towards the desert at dusk, half naked and screaming. The next morning the police reported that they had confirmed him dead.
For, what Samuel Reed had not known was that the sound haunting this town is the Sound of Death, and that he who looks for Death, shall eventually find it.