The Voice

music notes illustration

Bruno froze at the click of the bathroom door. He heard the floorboards creak, a splosh, then the squeak of skin on the bottom of the tub. He waited for the sound of moving water to subside, and then he let the silence hang for a couple of minutes.

Satisfied that his roommate was fully ensconced in her bubblebath, Bruno launched himself at the sofa, then clambered up onto the back of it. From there, he manoeuvred himself to perch on the windowsill.

The window was pushed ajar, and Bruno breathed in the cool, evening air appreciatively. He listened to the birds croon their twilight tunes. Not a bad opening act, he thought.

He nudged at the window to open it further and stuck his head out as far as it would go. He shuffled on his bum, made himself comfortable, then he sucked in a great lungful of air and yelled once, as loud as he possibly could. “Ready?”

30 seconds passed, and then his call was returned by his tenor: “I’m ready!” The tenor was always first. He sat by his window all day long waiting for the cue.

Next was alto, who trilled “I’m here!” three times to prove her voice was warmed up and ready to go. She sang all day every day in privacy, so she liked to show off when it was time for their public performance.

It was another 20 seconds before bass checked in with a croaky, “Okay.” She was always last; she was old and slow on her feet and tended to be fast asleep when Bruno gave the command.

Bruno hacked to clear his throat, then he closed his and eyes and prepared himself. He stretched out his neck, took a deep breath, and sang. His soprano pitch was smooth and perfectly controlled, and after a couple of beats the alto joined him.

Shouts came from the bathroom upstairs, but Bruno didn’t hear them; he was already in the zone.

Tenor kicked in next, and soon after that came bass – a deep, rumbling tone that could make glass panes shake in their window frames.

The quartet crooned for minutes, lost in the soothing sounds of their own voices, all perfectly harmonised. Their song was far less complex than that of the birds, but it was significantly louder and offered more than just background noise to the people in the surrounding houses. There was no ignoring the quartet when they got into full swing.

But it wasn’t long before the performance was cut short.

“Enough!”

Bruno’s voice faltered and fell into a weak croak. He reluctantly turned away from the window and looked sheepishly at his housemate, who was wrapped in a towel and had suds clinging to her bare skin.

Alto, tenor, and bass soon dropped off when they realised their soprano had fallen quiet.

“Every night, Bruno – it’s ridiculous! And you always wait until I’m in the bath so that I can’t tell you off.”

Bruno gulped and engaged his very best puppy dog eyes. His roommate couldn’t resist that look.

She sighed and approached him, kneeling on the sofa so that she could reach over and scratch him on the top of his head. “All that howling,” she said softly. “Do you think you’re a wolf, eh? You couldn’t be anything further from it, daft little dog.”

Bruno wagged his tail and leaned in to her touch. He may have only been small, but his voice could rival that of real wolves any day.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition and published her first book, 'Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection'. You can often find her hanging out on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott), or hibernating on her sofa with a book and a very large glass of gin.

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