Desde hace algunas semanas, durante una sesión creativa de procrastinación con algunos compañeros de trabajo, platicábamos sobre nuestras experiencias universitarias. Por comentarios que se fueron ligando mientras la conversación y las ideas fluían, llegó este pequeño cuento a mis manos.
Mi primer contacto con él fue en palabras de Fer, mi amigo y autor del cuento. La premisa era intrigante, por lo que le pedí la versión escrita de la historia para leerla con detenimiento. Dicha lectura me llevó a decidir compartirlo con ustedes, pues creo que esta tarea semestral de inglés, merece un espacio en esta jaula de lobos que llamanos "Internet".
Hoy tenemos material diferente, que repito no es de mi cosecha. Espero lo disfruten, tanto como yo lo hice.
It was 9:17 A.M. on a cloudy April 21st. I woke up to the most screeching sound I’ve ever heard. A piercing, annoying, pulsating siren whose volume was just on the verge of being painful. I ran outside to the front lawn in my bathrobe to try to find the source of the Noise, but it was directionless.
It seemed to be coming from all directions. Everywhere.
Standing there on my front lawn, I noticed all my neighbors were out as well. Many of them had their hands pressed against their ears; every dog in the city was howling, thus adding a thousand dissonant harmonies to the disorientating Noise in the air.
I asked one of my neighbors “What is that?”, just to find out the answer, which for some reason, did not surprise me. “I don’t know”, he yelled, perplexed. Spotting a local news helicopter flying overhead, I decided to turn on the local news on my living room TV. Volume 100, my head next to the box. The report said the Noise was not just in my town.
It was being heard everywhere, worldwide, and its source was still undetermined.
Everyone wore earplugs -which turned to be quite uncomfortable after using them for a couple of hours- waiting for the Noise to end. However, it never stopped. Weeks went by, and yet no one could figure out where it was coming from. Scientists were baffled out of their minds. Not being sure what else to do, the Government raised the National Alert level up to the maximum.
Business and commerce fell into total chaos, as no one could communicate clearly over the deafening Noise. Electronic network infrastructures soon clogged up, without enough capacity for everyone trying to conduct business through the web. Houses and businesses came up with the idea of soundproof walls, and this helped, but the Noise still got through the thinnest walls.
It was a fact that few could actually afford the level of soundproofing necessary to achieve complete silence. Special "Soundproof Cafes" began popping up everywhere, every corner, featuring soothing nature sounds and white noise to counter the Noise that got through the ultra-insulated walls.
People began to develop innovative new ways of communication.
Millions learned sign language, everyone that wanted to have a job had to, anyways. Others constantly wore earphones connected to tiny microphones, which they could swap with whomever they needed to talk with. These gadgets became the new trendy sensation among society, each year companies developing newer and better-looking versions of them, which at the end had the same functionality.
All music concerts but the loudest rock shows became obsolete. For the average-working citizen, there was nowhere on Earth he could be safe from the Noise. Years went through, and society managed to rearrange itself.
Slowly, people managed to adapt.
They got used to the Noise. Kids developed street slang for it, like "The Banshee" and "La Llorona" in Spanish speaking countries. Rock musicians began writing songs incorporating the Noise, which most of them agreed was more or less a C minor. Eventually, an entire generation that was born with the Noise, and they never knew a world without it.
The Noise became a part of life.
Fifty years later, the Noise just stopped.
No one on Earth could respond to this. Insanity took a fast pace. Society crumbled. They could not handle it psychologically. Unfamiliar to hearing their own thoughts and the clear voice of the people near them drove the human race insane. Dazzled by the impending chaos, humankind snapped. They started killing each other. One by one, everyone died. Humans became extinct.
Silence finally ruled the Earth.
Then, everything was very, very quiet.
Autor, redactor y editor: Fer