The Sounding Alarm

The Sounding Alarm

A Story by kickstart gal

A snapshot of the oblivious urban life.



The Sounding Alarm.
By J.G. Nicholson
An alarm is sounding on a cold, wet day in January. Its bell, a shrill advisor, strains against the din of urban life; its flashing lights are but a poor competitor for the violent iridescence of the city lights and plastic billboards.
The citizens rush to check their mobile devices for the source of the noise, but they are otherwise nonplussed. The businessmen hurry in their tightly-wound suits as though the corporate ladder would ascend into the heavens at any moment and leave them behind. Students in their day shirts cannot be bothered to part with their ear buds, their sunshades, their skates and their snobbery. They press on, motivated in their solitude by the relentless desire to surpass and forget the ones who raised them. The young girls flit by in their cloud of easiness and they do not stop.
The mothers – lucky few – pass by with their heads held according to the station of their children, dragging this one and that one away from that which they are surrounded by. They pray in earnest that just one might acknowledge them, might become virtuous—but they do not stop. When at last one small boy deciphers the sound, he is pulled away and scolded, for he is much too young, and the prospects of his uncovering, too dangerous.
The sound goes on all day, to no avail, until the night guard comes to shut it off. Possessing little knowledge toward the stench of crime, he could never venture a guess as to what, or whom, had set it off. But it matters little to this man whose shift did not include the incident. His job is only to reset the machine, and he does so, quickly, before moving on.
By the next day, it is evident that the circumstances under which the alarm was tripped are of little consequence to anyone. The business men hurry, the students return, the girls float by, and the mothers are there, advising wayward children to please not step into the wet, pink puddles underneath the emergency sign. They press on, unaffected, until dark, when they venture home to plan their agendas for the following day.

© 2009 kickstart gal

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There are some very nice turns of phrase here, and the feel of the piece is wee bit Orwell-esque. It's a very solid snapshot of a time and place, and I think the potential for something larger and deeper is here as well.

Posted 14 Years Ago

A fine piece of writing. This piece captures well the self centeredness of the city crowds. I love the reference to businessmen and the corporate ladder. There is much truth in this. Well done.

Posted 14 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on July 13, 2009


kickstart gal
kickstart gal

Greenville, NC

I'm Jess. 34-year-old Sothern PsuedoBelle, mom to three future changemakers (and current members of the stinky-feet club), snarkmaster supreme, nagging ex-wife, occupational hazardess, hardcore Faulkn.. more..