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By Kathryn Tennison

The first time I heard the ringing was after a balloon popped next to my ear. It was so loud it hurt, and the ensuing ringing filled my entire head. It’ll go away, they assured me. And it did. But it always came back. Then, one day, it never stopped. I tried white noise. I tried hearing aids. I tried everything. There’s no escaping a sound that comes from inside you. I could no longer read in peace, because all I heard was the ringing. It got so loud that I could hear it over voices, music, and television. After a while, it was all I could hear. The doctors explained (in writing) that I had gone deaf, but they didn’t understand that I wasn’t deaf at all. Deafness would have been a relief, because at least then I could’ve experienced true silence again. Still, maybe I could have held on to my sanity if it wasn’t for the voice. It emerged from the ringing, part of it, like it had been there all along, but it took me a while to understand it. I didn’t like the words it said, and yet they consumed me. Were they actually my own? Or were they someone else’s?


Kathryn Tennison received her MFA in creative writing from Butler University in Indianapolis. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, two cats, and one enormous dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys judging characters in horror movies for making decisions that she would probably make herself in the moment. Her fiction has been published by Bag of Bones Press; her poetry has been published by Timber Ghost Press. Follow her on Twitter.


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