The sound of fear

Roberto Rusconi from Intrasonus asked me to write a about the sound of fear. Here’s my submission: 

It’s just after New Year.
Yorkshire is blanketed in snow
Smothered in silence.
Outside, there’s the squeak creak squeak creak of walking on fresh snow.
As we get out onto the moors, the silence somehow gets louder, wider, huge-er. In between the squeaks and creaks, that is. And if ever we pause. 

Then the sleet starts. Soft plopping building through a windy rage, to the sort of cold rain that gusts through your clothes right down to your skin.  
Through the fog, I can just about see something a farmer left out on his land. Something with just enough above-ground horizontal space for my bottom. And sort of a wind-break. 

“I know its ridiculous”, I tell the others, “I know it’s cold and raining, really cold and really raining, but I need to sit down”, I say. 
As I go to sit, and the others cluster near the not-at-all-a-wind-break, the fog comes down even thicker.

So it’s not only me can’t see, when there’s a sw-o-ooSH SSSWWW-iii-iii-SH sHHw-o-ooSH near enough to feel the air move.
The desperate flapping of prey.
Even closer, the flutter of pigeon feathers torn loose from the bird. And the high click squeaks of a hawk.

It’s sparrowhawk. Versus pigeon.
Life and death and fear.
So close I can smell it.

Then the pigeon escapes.There’s clumsy clattering exhausted desperate flaps.
For less than a moment. Much less than a moment. 
Since the hawk comes back for another go.
Cleaner and even more determined this time: sw-o-oooooSHH. You can surely hear the brakes go on, as she turns back on herself yet again for the kill. 
And we’re left stunned in a cloud of feathers. 

This may feel vile, but if hawks don’t hunt, they don’t eat. To see and hear a pigeon being hunted by a hawk, look at 1.07 here below:

Theres a special reason why I thought of this story – its because I had just recently ‘caught’ a hawk.

Leave a Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.