The Still Small Voice | By: steve smith | | Category: Short Story - Introspective Bookmark and Share

The Still Small Voice

The Still Small Voice

As I drew back the curtains and looked across the fields, I felt sure something was different…
Yet everything seemed as normal. The leaves of the trees still shimmered in the breeze and the lushness of the fields stretched out into the distance.
So what was different? Why did I feel perturbed, that something was wrong? I opened the window and then it came to me, apart from the slight rustling of leaves in the trees, no other sounds filled the air.
I listened, searching for the faintest bird song but there was none. I looked up at the sky but nothing was flying and then in the distance I heard it, a distant rumbling deep and ominous.
Louder and louder the deep rumbling grew whilst with it could be heard other sounds like that of anguished wails and crashing, tearing noises of destruction that joined together like some hideous cacophony and rose to an unbearable crescendo.
And then I was there, no longer staring over the fields from the vantage point of my bedroom window but running across them in fear for my very life.
The sound that filled my ears and reverberated within my brain was deafening and was getting closer and closer, threatening to overtake me and swallow me up.
From behind me an advancing army of huge construction machines growled and roared, gargantuan monstrosities, insatiable in their lust and devoid of any compassion, devoured everything that stood in their path.
The pleasant green pasture that was and had always been had been violated. No longer was it a land of innocence, of dreams and adventure where children would play all day, it had been raped and ruined to never be the same again.
My fear began to change to a great sadness, as I began to contemplate the death of children’s laughter and play; to be replaced by concrete and shops and discarded needles. And borne with my sadness, there was an overwhelming sense of guilt, that I had been the cause of all this.
The construction machines gathered around me forming a semi circle some twenty feet away from where I stood, growling with the sound of their monstrous hearts ticking over whilst large slatted grills snarled like the mouths of ravenous beasts.
I no longer felt afraid, for I knew that they were not here to harm me because I realised that they were here because of me. They were here to serve me.
The burden of guilt became heavier and heavier to the point that it was unbearable to carry. I was to blame for this. This destruction of natural beauty and its benefits was because of me. It was my fault.

A dream, a nightmare, whatever; it was such relief to wake and know that it didn’t have to be real.
I looked at the people seated at the large round table in front of me. I studied their faces. Serious faces, greedy faces, anxious faces. So many faces, yet they all had one common denominating factor that united them all, they were staring intently at me.
I lowered my eyes to the documents on the table in front of me. “Proposal For Retail Park Development.” shouted out in emboldened type. I looked again at the eyes that bore into mine. They awaited a decision.
I thought of the beautiful pasture and the precious childhood memories it would hold for generations. I thought of the pleasure it brought to all those who lived there young and old. My decision was made.
I looked intently at those who sat around the table in that boardroom and for a few strange moments it seamed as if they had become the hideous machines of my dream.
I couldn’t destroy this beautiful place. What right had I to make that decision, and for what? Commercial profit. The thought repulsed me.
In what seemed an age, I became aware of my arm rising upward and my fist clenching and then slowly but inexorable descending toward the solid oak of the table.
I would not let this place die. I would not let its memories die because they were not only other people’s memories but mine as well. I had lived there.
My fist came crashing down upon the table with a resounding bang, followed by my bellowing voice that shouted, “Rejected!”

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