Things That Go ‘Beep!’ in the Night and Other Silly Stories
Copyright © 2014 Jamie Jones
First published 2014 by Sentient Star Publications.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher.
Harry couldn't sleep. In fact, he hadn't been able to sleep for several weeks. There was something terrible in his bedroom, something hideous, something going beep every forty seconds without fail. He hunted high and low to find the evil beeping culprit. When he stood at one side of the room where the beep seemed to be coming from, suddenly it seemed to be coming from the other side. Sometimes it seemed to be coming through the wall, but then, when he pressed his ear against the wall, it seemed to be coming from behind him.
Every forty seconds, without fail ... ‘beep’.
And as he lay there in bed, his eyes wide open and bloodshot from lack of sleep, he counted. Thirty seven, thirty eight, thirty nine...
It wasn't the smoke alarm, he had even removed it from the ceiling to be sure. And it wasn't his phone – that was in little pieces across the rug. It had beeped at him earlier, and then impacted with the wall shortly after. Harry was on a short fuse these days, especially with things that went beep.
It wasn't his digital watch. That never went beep, not since he smashed out the batteries and flushed them down the toilet. And it wasn't his laptop. That was now locked in the kitchen cupboard, pending further investigation.
Harry had begun to think that he was going insane. So when his mate Garry came round for a few cans of lager, he made Garry sit in his bedroom and listen for the beep.
Garry could also hear the beep, which at least meant Harry was not insane – yet. But Garry was equally unable to track down the cause of the beeping. However he seemed to find the whole thing completely hilarious. He had no idea just how serious Harry knew this was, and just how much it was destroying his soul.
At the end of the evening, Harry was once again left alone. Alone with the beep.
And now, he lay in bed, listening, waiting for the next, inevitable, horrifying, hideous, beep. He had long since given up hope that it would stop. He now accepted that it was going to go on and on and on, every forty seconds, for the rest of time.
And so he counted. Thirty seven, thirty eight, thirty nine...
Harry tried to stop himself from getting too excited. In six weeks, the beeping hadn't stopped. Six brain numbing weeks of beep, beep, beep...
Maybe he had miscounted. So he waited.
Could it be? Could it really have stopped?! He lay there a few minutes more, in blissful quiet.
It was true. It had really, finally, come to an end. With a sigh of relief, Harry soon drifted off into the deepest sleep of his life.
When the landlord came in a week later to collect the rent, he found the flat cold, as if the heating hadn't been on for days. There was a rather pungent smell in the place, which he tracked to the bedroom. There to his horror, he found Harry, dead.
The deceased young man was lying in his bed with a relaxed, peaceful look on his face. When the coroner later examined the body, he reported that Harry had had no illness. It was just as if his heart had suddenly given out.
Garry attended the funeral, and then sadly returned home. He couldn't help thinking about the beep. He had told the police about it, and they had investigated Harry's room thoroughly. There had been nothing that could have generated a beeping sound. Garry found himself wondering, had it been some kind of countdown to Harry's death? A warning? No, that was a daft idea.
He tried to push it out of his mind, and as he settled into bed, he closed his eyes and began to relax.
But then... ‘beep’ ... ‘beep’ ... ‘BEEP!’
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