Sunday Writing Prompt “it’s all in the title” – A Distant Hum


When our visitors arrived they asked what the hum was they could hear.

We replied with a nonchalant: ‘Its just a hum, its somewhere in the distant north, we are used to now, don’t let it bother you, another cup of tea?’

That’s how it was until we noticed it appeared to be getting closer. We thought it was louder than it was a year ago and we concluded it must be getting closer.

There were a few news stories about it, but the experts told us it was nothing to be worried about that it would soon disappear and we’d forget we ever heard it.

But it didn’t go away. I got louder.

It remained a distant hum, but it was a louder hum than before. At first, people complained the hum was keeping them awake at night, and then some people complained their anxiety levels were increasing because of the incessant hum.

An ‘expert’ came on the TV to say the hum was the result of movement in the tectonic plates within the earth’s crust and it was normal for air to get caught between the plates and therefore the hum was the result.

It sounded reasonable until it became louder. Was louder the sign of a natural disaster about to plunge us all into the abyss?

A Government spokesman appeared, dressed in a suit and with a string of degrees and qualifications attached to himself and told us not to be concerned the Government had it all under control. For most of us, we heard: “The Government has no idea of the problem but we are the Government, and we should know, but we don’t.”

In time the hum was pinpointed at a spot under a disused quarry in the now restricted north. ‘Hums happen all the time,’ said another expert, ‘this one is noticeable because it’s being amplified by the shape of the quarry.’ That made some sense, and to some, it seemed plausible.

Then the Christian right called on everyone to pray as they said it was a sign the earth was about to end. They even set a date, Tuesday fortnight.

But with so much in life, life did what it always does, it went forward, and we learned to live with the distant hum.

One morning though there was a change, the horizon took on a grey hue. It was way to the north, where we believed the hum to be coming from, and we were always told to stay well clear of the north.

Lately, I’ve noticed the grey darkening. Maybe it’s a sign the hum is building to something.


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7 Responses to Sunday Writing Prompt “it’s all in the title” – A Distant Hum

  1. Lyn says:

    I often heard that hum. But then I realised I’d left my earbuds in too long and had been listening to electronic noises from my computer. 😮

  2. crimsonprose says:

    One of my storage heaters hums. All night. It can be annoying. But, I know what it is. How much more annoying, and frightening, when the source is unknown, and eventually produces a grey mist. Wow, is the land to the north to explode? And then, of course, to some peoples, the Land of the Dead is to the north. Hum.

  3. Sadje says:

    A scary scenario.

  4. We never did solve the mystery of the elusive beep on the boat. Hums though, easy.

  5. You really built up the tension in this piece, I am so curious to know what the hum is, it sounds ominous!

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