Her staccato heartbeat thumps on, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, synchronizing perfectly with the annoying kid downstairs who’s learning how to drum. She caught a glimpse of the kid’s dad bringing it in. Cool kit alright. But the four-on-the-floor rhythm the kid plays is a chore. He never lets up. He’s got this ironic bowl haircut. And he’s learned just that one rhythm. Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun
The bowl haircut beat. Her heart follows it, wherever it goes.
There’s also the buzzsaw roar of the helicopter route running over her apartment. Heavy traffic, on the daily, regardless of time.
They wink as they fly by.
Up and down Redondo Avenue, the sawtooth drone waxes and wanes. It’s always there, in her bones.
She pilfers several mattresses from the back alley, and drags them up the stairs. She lines her tiny apartment’s walls.
The kid’s bowl haircut beat drums on.
The copters twinkle past her window.
An undulating flute sound notifies her of a new message on her phone. Perpetual anxiety, in her hand. Another sound contributing to the cacophony. It never stops.
It tears her apart, the dreadful noise of it all.
She slams against the mattresses to meter out the pain, until the soreness forces her to stop.
She stares at her reflection.
Time has etched sharp edges on her face.
The luster in her eyes has gone grey. The glow of her cheeks has gone away.
A spark at her lips ignites like a firefly. Her phone pings, but she shrugs it off.
The copters gutter away.
And, for a moment, her heart skips the bowl haircut beat.
Eric is a beer vendor by day, and fiction author by night. Some of his flash and short fiction can be found on his website, Stygian Space (stygianspace.com)
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