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The Sounds Written By EUNICE HUANG
About the Author………………….. page 4 Synopsis……………………………..page 5 Chapter 1
New Environment…...page 11
What’s the Sounds?....page 19
About the Author
Eunice Huang (1989- ) was born in Chia-Yi City Taiwan and lived there until she came to study at Wenzao. While she was writing this book, she was still a student. Although she is major in English, she still doesn’t have confidence in English. This is the first time she wrote a novel. ‘The Sounds’ is a different kind of ghost story. Difference in that it is not frightful at all. The writer tried to deal with some significant events like the love between parents and children, and morality. The language in the story is simple, but their ideas convene within the story important meanings.
The Higgins was a poor but satisfied family. They owned a small restaurant in suburb. But one car accident brought the only man away, and the wife and son had no support. They closed the restaurant and moved to an old house in a small village. However, it seemed not the final disaster. There were some strange sounds at night. What could it be? And would they find happiness again at the end?
It was like any other day, but something seemed to be different. At nightfall, it was not the time to knock off; all customers left and there were still some plates on the tables waiting to be washed. There was a loud sound of laughing from the kitchen. ‘Honey, it’s perfect that today our revenue is more than ever!’ said David happily. ‘Maybe we should celebrate! I think it is time all three should go on vacation.’ The wife didn’t say a word, but just smiled and nodded. But the child was so happy that danced with Lucky, their dog, -6-
and kept saying all the places he wanted to go. Everything seemed to be perfect. Actually, their restaurant was very small in the suburb. David Higgins was the chef and his wife, Helen, was the only waitress. As everyone could see, they were not so rich, but they still had happiness. They believed to being together was more important than anything else. Early in spring, the snow started to melt and it would be the time coldest. No customers came to their restaurant. This would be miserable for most restaurant owners, however, David and Helen thought that was the time to have a rest -7-
and decided to go on vacation. In fact, the vacation didn’t really like other peoples. They just went to a park downtown and took a walk there. But they still had a lot of fun. They didn’t have so much money, so they couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. David decided to go home early because it would be dangerous driving at night. On the way home, because of the wet and slippery road, David drove very carefully although he felt a little sleepy. However, no matter how carefully he was the car’s brakes suddenly not to work. He tried to calm Helen and himself down, but Helen began to cry and -8-
shouted, ‘Oh no! Stop! Stop! Please!’ Their son, Harry, didn’t know what had happened, and was still sleeping deeply. Suddenly, a dog ran out into the road, David dodged it but the car crashed into a grove beside the road. For them, the moment was static and quiet, father’s blood gushed across every corner of the car, and also on Harry’s face. Helen was like a sleeping beauty, “sleeping” quietly and lovely wearing a bright red dress, laying beside David. Harry was completely frightened, though he couldn’t say a word more. He didn’t -9-
cry or he might just too shock to do reactions. The world suddenly seemed motionless to Harry. The sound of ambulance siren became louder and louder. That was the only sound Harry could hear.
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It was originally a happy and memorable trip. And actually it was really unforgettable. David died in the car accident and Helen held a simple funeral for him. She wept in silence for him. That day was a sunny day, but for her and Harry, it was a cloudy and grey day. Harry stood outside the restaurant and looked up at the sky sadly. ‘Sweety, come in!’ Helen called him. ‘I just wanna tell you, everything will be all right. Daddy he is just tired, and wants sleep a while.’ Harry still hadn’t spoken since the cars accident and just looked at her sadly. They embraced each - 11 -
other and burst into tears, although Helen tried not to cry in front of her son. She wanted him to know it wasn’t the end of this family. A restaurant didn’t have a chef, and a family didn’t have a man as a husband and father. Her husband’s death distressed her greatly. Helen had no support, so she closed the restaurant and decided to leave the sorrowful place in order not to recall all the beautiful and unforgettable memories with David. She brought Harry to find her old friends in a small and peaceful village, Silver, so that they could find a new place to stay. However, - 12 -
they had all moved away. Helen didn’t want to go back, so she decided to stay. She tried to rent a room or house, but no one was for rent. In the evening, as Helen was almost giving up, she met a man. Mr. Rice, a houses seller, knew her problem, so he recommended some inexpensive houses which a little away from the village. ‘It’s already night so I want one near the village,’ Helen said. ‘Oh… I see, you have a child. Alright! If you don’t mind a house that is old and a little damaged, I know one that is very cheap, ah… No. It’s free!’ Helen was very grateful but she wondered why it was free, so she - 13 -
was indecisive. ‘It’s nothing! It just hasn’t had a master for a long time. I heard some people had lived there, but maybe they earned enough money, and moved away. And I heard now it’s empty again,’ he explained. Helen nodded to agree although she was still worried. After saying good bye to Mr. Rice, Helen brought Harry to their “new” temporary house. On the way, Harry still wouldn’t speak; he was just in no mood to do so, so he just followed his mother. The house was really big and old. It was a three stories villa and had many windows but - 14 -
most of them were broken. It looked especially more ghastly at night. However, Helen had no choice. She had to have the courage to go inside, so Harry would have a place to call home. Helen looked at all the rooms inside. She found the house was very elegant, because there were many rooms for different occasions. But most of the costly things were gone, perhaps even stolen. But that was not the point. Helen quickly choose a room and cleaned it. At this time, Harry and Lucky, his pet, were strolling in the house. Harry found there was a locked attic. He tried to break the lock, but no use. - 15 -
The house was big and old; it looked especially more ghastly at night.
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“Sweety! Where are you? I’ve been looking for you for a long time. Come here!” Helen found him and brought him back to the room. Harry tried to talk about the attic, but Helen was so tired that she pulled him fast as she wanted to go to bed early. Harry therefore felt angry, so he decided not to tell her about the attic, nor even a word! He held Lucky in his arms and went to sit in the corner of the room. Helen tried to let him sleep on her bed, but Harry just as usual, didn’t say a word. Helen didn’t know what’s wrong with him; however, she couldn’t let her son keep in bed mood. She gave Harry a hug and - 17 -
put him to bed. He wept himself to sleep, even though Lucky was also sleeping beside him. Although Helen was sleepy, she still waited him fall asleep, and that was almost the morning.
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What’s the Sounds?
The problems haven’t finished, their money was less and less. Helen tried to find a job. However, it was not easy to find a job in a small village. So, she decided to go to the biggest farm and tried to request a work. The owner’s name was Catherine, a very beautiful lady. She owned the large farm after her husband died. When she heard Helen’s story, she was sorry and quickly promised to give Helen a job. Helen was also good at cooking, so Catherine let her do the cooking, clean the house and also for have a person to talk to. Helen was very thankful, so she - 19 -
worked hard, and she always came home late. Because of this, Harry became more lonely and reserved. The neighbors’ children laughed at him because he didn’t have a father like the others did. So, Lucky was Harry’s only friend, always beside him to protect him. Harry didn’t want to be laughed at any moment so he stayed home all day with Lucky. Most of the time what he did was playing with Lucky or just sitting in the living room missing his father and crying. The sadness caused him to forget about the attic he had found the first day. One day, Catherine held a big party and invited lots of - 20 -
Lucky was Harryâ€™s only friend, always beside him to protect him.
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people Helen had to stay that day to prepare for at this. She asked Harry to come, but he refused. He didnâ€™t want to go because he knew he would see the other children. Therefore, that night only Harry and Lucky were at home. Harry went to bed early. However, he was so scared that he couldnâ€™t fall asleep. The night was very quiet; it seemed no one was alive in the world. Then he started to think about some beautiful memories he had had with his father. He always did this, as it helped him not being so afraid of the loneliness. Suddenly, there were some strange sounds. It seemed like someone was walking in the living - 22 -
room. At first, Harry thought that it could be his Mom. She might have forgotten something and came back to get it. About ten minutes later, the sounds stopped. While he was almost falling asleep, there were some different sounds coming from the living room again. This time Harry heard crying. Harry was very scared and hid himself under his blanket. The crying sound lasted a long time and even became louder and louder. After an unknown time, Harry was woken up by Helen in the morning. When Harry saw his Mom, he hugged her tightly wailing. He told her about the sounds he had heard last night, but - 23 -
Helen just smiled at him trying to calm him down by saying, “Sweety, don’t be scared! It may be just mice or cats. I won’t leave you alone home again! OK?” After this event, Helen tried to finish her work quickly so she could come home early. But she was always so tired that she slept very early and deeply. And the sounds came out again. Harry said it many times, but Helen never heard the sounds. So, she thought Harry just needed extra attention so she just tried to come home earlier. However, the work was not so easy. Helen - 24 -
tried to finish quickly, but sometimes there would be some problems. Catherineâ€™s house was very big; so many places were needed to be cleaned. She also needed to cook lunch and dinner for Catherine. Helen worked very hard well before; it was because she spent lots of time, and always went home late. Now she worked very fast. Some places would not be so tidy as usual and the food she cooked became simpler. Gradually, she suddenly realized what she was doing, and apologized to Catherine. She thought Catherine might have already known about this problem, so she wanted to recover it. - 25 -
She worked harder than ever; of course, and so she started to come home lately again. Fortunately, Harry no longer seemed so scared and went to bed early everyday. So, it seemed like nothing had happened before.
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Days after days, the strange sounds didn’t appear again. Helen still came home late, but sometimes Catherine would let her off early. Harry still couldn’t make friends, so he only had Lucky as his friend. One night, Helen as usual, didn’t come home yet. Harry was sitting alone in the sleeping room, and Lucky was in the living room. Suddenly, Lucky started to bark. Harry didn’t mind that and continued to think if his father was alive how great it would be. About ten minutes later, Lucky stopped barking. Harry thought that it might be - 27 -
his mom coming back, so he left the sleeping room and went into the living room. When Harry stepped into the living room, he found there was a person sitting on the old sofa, and Lucky was gone. ‘Mom? Mom? Is that you?’ Harry was confused. There was no reply from the person. Harry was a little bit frightened, and walked slowly toward the sofa. ‘Who are you, boy?’ The person started talking. It sounded like an old man, and someone who was a little bit angry to him. ‘I am Harry Higgins, and…’ ‘Ok. Come here!’ The old man said not waiting - 28 -
for Harry to finish speaking, and raising his finger pointed to the sofa. This meant for Harry to sit. Harry was scared of him, but he still sat down with the old man. Harry looked him up and down. The old man’s face looked very tired with no vitality. He wore an aged and a little dirty brown overcoat. Finally, he found that the old man had only one leg. Harry was shocked for a while, but soon his emotion turned to sorry and sympathized with him. ‘What are you looking at, boy?’ Harry quickly lowered his head. ‘Sorry! I am not deliberately. I just...’ The old man interrupted - 29 -
him again. ‘Ok. Go and never come back! Otherwise, you had better watch out!’ ‘What? This is my home! My mom, Lucky and I have lived here a long time.’ ‘This is not your home.’ Suddenly, the old man disappeared, and Harry began screaming after him. ‘Mom! Mom!...’ Harry woke up shouting on the bed in the morning. Helen was sitting beside him and looked worried at him. ‘What happened, Sweety? Why did you sleep on the sofa last night?’ Harry couldn’t stop crying. Helen gave him a hug, and tried to dry his eyes. After a while, - 30 -
Harry told her about the old man he had seen last night. Helen just smiled at him, and told him it was just a dream. However, Harry was very sure what he experienced. He felt scared and persuaded her to move away immediately. Of course, Helen didnâ€™t believe him. She pacified him and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. After she finished cooking the breakfast, she called Harry to come to eat. But Harry was angry with her and ran to sit in the corner again. Helen tried to ask him to come to the table, but it was no use. â€˜Sweety! It was just a nightmare, donâ€™t be so - 31 -
scared! I really have to go now, or I’ll be late!’ Harry didn’t reply and looked at her unhappily. Helen put some bread and fried eggs on his plate, then put it in front of Harry. ‘Don’t make yourself hungry over the small things! I’ll be back early!’ Helen then went off to work. So it was only Harry at home. He ate his breakfast and then suddenly realized Lucky was gone. He started to look for him. He couldn’t stay in the house without him, because Lucky was his only friend and Harry was afraid of solitude. After a long time, Lucky still didn’t show up. - 32 -
Harry became more frightened, and he recalled he hadnâ€™t gone upstairs, to the attic. He quickly went up the staircase. Lucky was there. However, he was hanged and dead. Harry screamed and cried seeing the awful circumstance. He ran down the staircase immediately and hid under his blanket. Wrapping in the blanket, he cried and kept calling for his mother. Eventually, about one or two hours later, he fell asleep. It was at nightfall when Helen came back. She told Catherine about her sonâ€™s problem. Catherine then gave Helen two-days off and promised she would still get paid. Helen woke - 33 -
Harry up because she wanted to tell him the good news. However, when he woke up, he told her the bad news right away. Helen then went up to see if it was real or not. She was shocked. She pulled down Lucky and gave him a kiss. ‘Rest in peace! My dear!’ At the midnight, Helen still couldn’t sleep, but Harry slept deeply. The night was silent. Suddenly, she heard some strange sounds coming from upstairs. It was like someone was plodding wearily up there. She was scared, but she still picked a broom to protect her and went up. There was no one there, but there was a locked attic. - 34 -
The lock was very old and fragile, so Helen got in easily. In the attic, there were some old but luxurious furniture and an old man was just standing beside it. The old man looked just like what Harry had described. He was staring at Helen angrily. ‘It’s you who killed my dog, right? And frightened my son, right? I tell you I am not afraid of you…’ ‘Stop! Don’t blame this on me! I’ve told you to go away. This is not your home!’ ‘What? Why didn’t you tell us while we just moving in? Why should I believe you? I, I…’ - 35 -
Helen hadnâ€™t finished what she wanted to say but suddenly felt dizzy. She fell down in a swoon. The night was silent again, and the night was almost over. The sun rose slowly.
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The old man looked just like what Harry had described. He was staring at Helen angrily. - 37 -
The sun shed light and warmth on Helen’s face. She woke up and thought about what had happened last night. She trembled out of fear, so she woke Harry up right away. She asked him about the old man he had seen. After she confirmed the old man’s appearance, she brought Harry out immediately. ‘Where are we going? I wanna sleep for a while, please!’ ‘Sweety! Let’s go out for a walk! I, I also want to visit our neighbors. We have lived here a long time, but haven’t visited them. It is not polite!’ - 38 -
Helen said very fast and a little bit nervous. While they left the house, Mrs. Gibson was passing by the house Helen seemed to want to go faster by. â€˜Hi! Good morning, Mrs. Gibson!â€™ Helen quickly went in front of her. However, Mrs. Gibson just nodded and left. It was strange, so Helen thought there would be some problem with the house. She decided to visit other neighbors to ask them about what was wrong with the house. First, they visited Mr. Brown who lived on their right side. He was middle ages, about forty or more, and he was single. When he opened the door and found - 39 -
out it was Helen and her son, he welcomed them to come in. Harry felt scared of him, because Mr. Brown was always had a nauseating smile. ‘Thanks! But I just wanna ask you some questions about the house we live in.’ ‘Oh! I heard there was ghost in that house. You’re brave! Ha,ha… Or, if you don’t mind, you can live with me!’ Mr. Brown changed his tone in a disgusting way. Helen was not sure what shocked her the ghost or the suggestion. Helen thanked him and then turned around and left with Harry immediately. After visiting Mr. Brown, the following - 40 -
neighbors they visited avoided talking about the house. But for sure, Helen thought, the house must have problems. It was near noon, and Harry was hungry and thirsty. He wanted to go home, but he and his mother were afraid of the ghost. So, Helen brought him to Catherine’s house to ask for help. On the way, they met an old lady, about sixty years old. She first saw them and was shocked but soon she started to commend them for their bravery. ‘I know you live in that house. How brave you are!’ ‘Why, why are you saying this? Is there some story in that house?’ Helen asked - 41 -
terrified. ‘Don’t you know? Strange! Ten years ago, an old military man died in that house. He was not the house’s owner, he was a butler.’ ‘Just a butler? How can he expel us! He was not the owner!’ Harry asked confused. ‘Yes, listen, the owner was a rich family named Walter.’ The old lady continued. ‘They employed the old retired military man, so he was very thankful and very loyal. Once, the Walters went on a vacation and never came back again. I’ve heard that they were killed in a car accident!’ ‘Just like my father…’ Harry said sadly in tears. - 42 -
‘Oh! Little boy, I am sorry to hear this.’ Helen gave him a hug and then encouraged the old lady to continue. ‘Ok. After that, the old man, uh… the butler, was still living at the house and… like… protected it. One day he died in that house, so the house had no master. However, I think he is still protecting it. Some people have lived there, but some died and some left early.’ ‘Really? No wonder no one wants to talk about this.’ Helen was fearful and apprehensive and Harry was too. However, he asked Helen to go back to the house because he wanted to know - 43 -
why the butler killed Lucky. This request shocked both Helen and the old lady. Certainly, she refused and then thanked the old lady for telling her the truth. Following her original plan, she brought Harry to her employer, Catherineâ€™s house. Fortunately, Catherine was so kind that she allowed them to live with her and she even suggested that they live with her from now on. Helen felt an immense gratitude to her and kept saying thank you. In contrast, Harry was a little scared because it was the first time he had met her. - 44 -
It was near sunset and the sky was getting darker and darker. Helen was preparing dinner. She decided to go back to pack their things so they could leave tomorrow. Harry was sitting with Catherine in the living room. They didnâ€™t talk to each other; Catherine was just drinking tea and smiled at him. Suddenly, Harry stood up and went outside for no reason without telling anyone. Catherine thought he was just too shy, so she didnâ€™t stop him. However, this was not right. Where he really went was to the old house. He wanted to talk to the ghost in order to ask if his father was still beside him or not. - 45 -
It was night time, and the house looked more terrible than ever. He was frightened, but he still went in the house. It was very dark inside and the blowing wind was cold. Suddenly, the door closed, and then a light appeared. It was the old retired military man. ‘Why have you come back, boy?’ ‘I, I know you are ghost, and I also know you are protecting this house.’ ‘You aren’t afraid of me? Yes, as you said. I am protecting the house, so please go away. I don’t want to hurt you.’ ‘Why? But you took Lucky away from me!’ - 46 -
‘You know, it was a warning.’ Harry felt angry but he didn’t dare to blame him. ‘I wanna ask you one thing, and then I won’t return again.’ ‘Good.’ the old man felt happy. ‘Is my father still with me?’ ‘Uh… No.’ ‘Why? But you are here?’ ‘Listen, boy. It’s different. Your father might already been in heaven looking at you.’ ‘Really? Why don’t you go to heaven? The house’s owner won’t return, so you don’t need to keep staying here.’ Harry felt a bit disappointed. ‘You are right but I can’t do this. It’s all about - 47 -
repaying their help. So, now you should go. No more questions.’ He changed his tone and open the door. At this time, Helen was outside the house. She found Harry was gone so she bet he would come here. After the door opened, she came in immediately and held Harry and went back Catherine’s house. At that time, the old man disappeared. Helen was very worried and wanted to leave right away, but Harry seemed like he want to say something. ‘Thank you! Rest in peace!’ Harry said. When they came out of the house, there was a reply “hearing” from the old man in the empty house. - 48 -
‘Thank you, boy.’ ＊ The house was empty again. The old man was still protecting it in the house. Helen and Harry, this incomplete family, lived with Catherine, was also a poor woman. The two women helped and supported each other. Harry became more active although his father wasn’t with him. Because he knew his father was in heaven looking at him, he was not lonely. Everything had changed again. This change for Helen and Harry was returning to the happiness they had known when David was alive. - 49 -
References Pictures Cover http://www.flickr.com/photos/15955251@N04/ 2368296452/ P.16 http://www.neonlite.ca/archives/2005/05 P.21 http://www.carolinamag.com/intarsia.html P.37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/awmjr_magoo/5 13856116/
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Synopsis The Higgins was a poor but satisfied family. They owned a small restaurant in suburb. But one car accident brought the only man away, and the wife and son had no support. They closed the restaurant and moved to an old house in a small village. However, it seemed not the final disaster. There were some strange sounds at night. What could it be? And would they find happiness again at the end?
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