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The Hum

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The Hum is a worldwide phenomenon only about 2% of the population is able to hear. It is described as a low humming noise between 30 and 40 hertz akin to a diesel engine running off in the distance, only if one were to search for the location of the truck they'd never find it. Many people who can hear The Hum live in the country and say it is often louder in the wee hours of the night and on weekends. Sometimes they experience vibrations, nosebleeds, headaches, and sometimes even diarrhea.There are at least 3 suicides linked to The Hum, in which the constant drone became so unbearable and unceasing that the only escape for these people was death. The Hum, reportedly, cannot be drowned out or recorded with an electronic device.

I worked on a Canadian task force investigating The Hum for about 2 years; the team was formed shortly after our town, which will remain undisclosed, finally decided to address the rapidly growing number of noise complaints. We were basically a group of hand-picked citizens who could hear The Hum that received some special training and a shiny badge that didn't do much except get us free drinks at the bar downtown. We didn't use either very much, except for when we were especially thirsty.

For the first few weeks on the job, we biked around town and listened for when The Hum got louder and quieter. It certainly was quite the workout. We didn't use cars because we deemed them too noisy to provide any real help. The Hum definitely got louder out in the country-- and at night. We were eventually able to draw two entire maps of the town, tinted lighter or darker corresponding to the volume and intensity of The Hum. One map was to represent the day, and the other the night.

Months in, we were investigating factories and farming machines. None of them seemed to produce the same noise and the same area coverage that we were looking for. It was mystifying. With industry ruled out, we turned our ears to the ground. Business was going slow, but after the 1-year mark we were able to get in touch with a seismologist. All sorts of tests were performed in every corner of the town. For 6 months, we waited. Every single test came back normal. From there, it was back to the drawing board. We eventually decided to go back out on our own, just as one final attempt before we officially gave up and left the case a mystery forever. This was the 2-year mark.

The task force, to be specific, was made up of 12 people. I don't remember all of their names, but I did make friends with a Dave. I never learned his last name. There was a Joanne, a Seth, an Elizabeth, and a Cooper. Cooper honestly believed the whole thing was a government conspiracy. Nobody listened to him, since they could barely even tolerate him to begin with. The rest of the team was a group of blurry faces I probably wouldn't recognize today. I do, however, remember the last day like it was yesterday.

We'd all agreed to meet up by the burnt-down barn at midnight with our walkie-talkies and microphones just in case we got lucky; despite the fact that we'd never been successful in recording The Hum before. The walkie-talkies were for when we split up. Obvious stuff. Half of us brought the night maps and flashlights. The other half paired up with somebody from the first half. The plan was to go out in teams of two and cover as much ground as possible; trying to find the source of The Hum (even though it seemed damn near impossible) and hopefully getting the first-ever recording of it. The night map outlined a clear shockwave sort of shape. Although we'd tried to pinpoint the centre before unsuccessfully, most of us aimed to investigate it one last time by the end of the night. Once all questions had been answered and everyone was ready, we embarked on our last journey in search of The Hum.

The investigation was not off to a good start as of one hour in-- two groups had already gotten lost and two more were tasked with finding them. It was times like those I was glad we had the walkie-talkies. Another team's flashlight batteries died not too long after, and they tagged along with another pair instead of going home like they should have. There were a few arguments and unforeseen mud patches, but after that things seemed to be clearing up. The only obstacle left was The Hum itself.

Dave and I knew we were getting closer to the middle of the shockwave when both of us got nosebleeds at the same time. The noise was becoming unbearably loud and it was actually becoming difficult to hear anything other than the low rumbling. As we continued walking, I could feel the ground beginning to shake. Somewhere along the line we dropped our map, but I'm not quite sure where and when. We just continued walking without a word exchanged.

The Hum eventually became so loud that I refused to walk any further. I was convinced the source was a mere yard ahead of us. Dave tried to talk some sense into me. "If we find the source of The Hum, we'll be local heroes," he said. "This is our job." And of course he was right. I was getting paid for this. After Dave sent out a short update to the rest of the team, we continued forward with our palms helplessly pressed to our ears. There was no drowning it out. I felt as if I had to drag my feet one at a time because every one of my primal instincts was screaming at me to stop, turn around, and never come back.

I stopped just a few feet behind Dave, who stood at the single loudest point of The Hum we'd found yet. The noise seemed to be deeper there. Bigger, like an earthquake without the quake. Dave took another step back, and after the initial few seconds of boot treads desperately clinging to the overgrown weeds lining a man-sized hole, finally disappeared more quickly than I've ever seen a man fall. He screamed like a banshee until his voice faded back into the all-consuming noise that was The Hum. I frantically called after him, but I couldn't lean in any further or I feared I would either bust an eardrum or fall in after him. I searched for the walkie-talkie but realized he must have had it with him when he fell. I ran back through the field as fast as my legs would allow, thanking the heavens another team was close by.

I had just begun to explain the situation when their walkie-talkie crackled to life. Dave's pained voice echoed from the speaker. Since the walkie-talkies don't pick up the sound produced by The Hum, something else was causing the static. I asked if he was okay like a broken record until I finally heard him say something.

"I can't hear anything, but I'm going to assume somebody is listening." His words were broken and uneven in tone, much like how a deaf person speaks. It was unsettling at the least. "I don't know where I am, but the room is lit by some sort of light source, because I can see a... oh God. Hang on a sec." The static increased and we heard some shuffling noises from his end. "I'm hiding behind a pile of dirt now. You're not going to believe this, but it's like a machine-thing. It's pumping something out-- no wait, it's not a machine-- it has a mouth. Holy shit! I--" The walkie-talkie then erupted into a static-ridden mess of panicked rambling and a strange metallic banging. Several seconds later, we heard Dave again. "Leave the field. Leave this town. There's nothing good for us here." His words became more rushed with every short sentence.

"Forget about The Hum. These things-- I don't know what to call them; but they're crying. That's The Hum. It is not a factory. The one right in front of me just noticed me. I don't know if it can move, but it's even louder now that I've made all this noise. They don't even have eyes or a nose. They're huge, and they're just... Sitting around wailing like lost children. No, wait. Something is tunnelling in from the wall. It just broke the surface. Dear God, there've gotta be at least 200 of these things. They're swarming it-- no, now they're looking at me. These ones have eyes... Completely white. OH GOD, THEY'RE CHARGING. TEETH. NEVER. LEAVE--" The transmission ended. We all stood there in shock, Elizabeth with tears streaming down her cheeks. None of us dared to get any closer to the The Hum. Nobody went looking for Dave that night; or any night after that, for that matter. We all went back to HQ without a word. His family filed a missing persons report, but upon us sending what our audio recordings to the police, they dropped the case immediately. I've since moved far away from that town. For a while, my new life offered a solace I hadn't felt in years. It was so uplifting, and I'd never felt so safe.

That is, until I recently noticed a low humming noise at night, and it's only been getting louder. Last night I barely slept. Not because of the noise; no, I'm used to that by now. It's because I couldn't stop thinking the same damn thing all night as I stared blankly up at the ceiling. They're everywhere.

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