The sounds of drums filled the town for an entire day before Jon and I made the decision to discover the source. The first time I heard them was when the sun woke me up by beaming directly into my room. I lay in bed, listening to the hypnotic rhythm, expecting them to stop. But, they didn’t. Some of the townspeople said the drums started at midnight, while others said they didn’t start until early morning. They didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I enjoyed the novelty of not waking up to the sound of my four-year-old brother, Jack, banging his toy cars together and crying for someone to assist him when the wooden wheels fell off.
Jack had woken up early, but had forgone playing with his wooden toys and instead was inventing rhythmically inspired dances in the living area; bending down on one beat and standing up straight on the next while stomping around our wooden floors. My mother and father, however, were complaining about how they were unable to think with that “incessant noise.” I sat at the kitchen bench, eating jam on toast, thinking about how different our reactions were to the same event. Trying to take advantage of their distaste for the drums, I asked my mother if the drums meant we had to go school. Apparent,ly she despised that idea even more than the drums, scolding me for wasting her time with such frivolous questions. My brother didn’t have to go to school, and he was sure to take time out from stomping around the house to let me know before I walked out of the house.
The rhythm was different. I wouldn’t have been able to put into words how it had changed, but there was a distinct shift in the overall mood of the drums since I had woken up. If you asked me to describe them to you, I would have said tribal. Without knowing much about drumming, I would have been surprised to discover that the sounds were all being made by anything other than hand drums. I gave in to the urge to walk along the gravel path so that my boots landed in time with the beat echoing across the town. It took me longer than it should have to realise that the sound of the drums appeared to be the same volume no matter where I was, and that this should have been my first clue regarding their location.
The gravel path gave way to the dirt lining the main street, and I tried unsuccessfully to gauge the mood of the town. The shopkeepers had congregated near the town’s centre, shrugging their shoulders and throwing their arms up in the air, cursing the drums for making their days that much more unpredictable. There was something concerning about the fact that they did not have any answers as to where the drumming was coming from or who was causing it, as the shopkeepers were usually the ones who knew these things before anybody else. I walked passed them, altering my walking pattern so it didn’t look as though I was enjoying the drums.
The post office lady, Norma-Jean Hansely, quickly stopped tapping on her counter when she saw me walking past her shop on the way to school. Usually, she would wave to me but, today, she stared at me with a look of concern. I was going to be late for school if I stopped to discuss this recent phenomenon with her, so I continued walking down the main street. Six or seven steps later, I froze. In the middle of the road in front of me, three of my classmates were kneeling down each one with an ear to the ground.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW…
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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