The Night-Catcher

Reads: 278  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Life has not been easy for anyone, but it has been especially hard for the new Night-Catcher. The life and death of the people in her sector rests on her shoulders alone. Is the stress to much for her? (Novel to come)

Submitted: September 26, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 26, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

“Am I a good person?” I ask her. She doesn’t know anything. She has freedom. She is what I used to be.

“I don’t know...” She replies. A chill runs down my side and I feel the need to explain myself.

“I wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t born this way.” She looks at me, but I know she doesn’t see anything. She sees what everyone sees. The person They created.

“You know, They say God makes no mistakes. You must have been chosen for a reason.” I sigh. I remember when I was just like her, so innocent, so naïve. She waits for me to respond and when I don’t she goes on. “They told me to come in here because you have something for me.” I nod, acknowledging that she can’t even bring herself to say what she is here to retrieve. Then I walk over to one of my shelves. I grab a little bottle and hand it to her. “I don’t want that…” She says as she eyes the object in my hand. I feel my head tilt to the side, but the effort to hold it up is too great.

“It’s yours.” I respond. “All I can do now is give you your future, and hope that you make the correct choices.” She takes the little glass bottle carefully and holds it against her ear.

“I can hear them.” She whispers.

“I know.” She stands up and walks out. After the door closes behind her I whisper, “You’re welcome.” But who would say thank you to me? Only They would. I walk back over to the shelf and run my finger over the bottles, each one tagged with a different person’s name.

 I remember when I came to get my own bottle. I opened it and heard screams, babies crying, nightmares. The scariest part was that the sounds never stopped. That was when the man handing me the bottle died and another shriek was added to the mix. I closed the bottle, but it was already too late to forget the sounds, those horrible sounds! A man and women walked through the door. The women held out a sheet of paper to me that read: ‘Congratulations! You have been promoted!’ In our government there are only three ranks, the workers, the night-catchers, and the ones known as They. I was the new night-catcher.

A night-catcher is someone everyone is intrigued by, but no one wants to be. I am given the task of separating the screams from my own bottle and putting them in to other peoples. The job never ends. Each day They bring me name tags and bottles of all shapes and sizes, the bigger the worse, then I have to tag every bottle and start separating the shrieks from my own bottle. Before a bottle is labeled it is only an empty casket, but once it has a name on it the bottle takes on a new persona, or frequency. I have been told that only a night-catcher knows which bottle belongs with which tag so I have to do everything on my own. I have come to find that if I take an empty labeled bottle and hold it to my ear, I can just make out the sound of the cries that belong inside, so I sort through my own until I find the correct screams and poor them into the consecutive bottle. If I make a mistake, more people die.

I do this for a year, than on Reclamation Day I get to meet the faces that go along with the bottles. No one ever smiles when they meet me. Sometimes we make small talk so I can understand why one man’s bottle is so small or why a young girl’s bottle is larger than her head, but only sometimes.

One year on Reclamation Day a women walked in holding her blue eyed baby in one arm. I asked her what her name was and found her bottle. It was small with a little green cork. I remember when I had separated the voice into this bottle. Only one cry, a babies. I slowly handed the woman her bottle then found the infant’s. It was empty. I knew the baby would die soon, since its bottle for told that it would not live long enough to cause another person’s death.

The truth is, that inside every bottle, is the sound of the people that the retrievers of the screams will have some part in killing. It doesn’t matter if the deaths these people are bound to cause are on purpose, by accident, or by coincident. Because, if it is really thought about, if anyone lives long enough, they are bound to be involved in the death of another, directly or indirectly. The ones known as They created night-catchers in hopes that our ability to separate screams would help prevent deaths. One of the Theys’ told me that the goal was that once everyone had listened to the screams in their bottle they could figure out who’s voice it was and then try to avoid the inevitable assassination. I don’t know if this system is successful.

“Why don’t I kill myself?” I shout. The thing is, I know exactly why. Because I have never heard my own scream mixed in with all of the others. When I finish emptying out every sound from my bottle, there is never one voice left over. Every year when it comes close to Reclamation Day I hope that I will hear my own cry of horror, the sound of letting go, but I don’t have that luxury.


© Copyright 2020 Steph Fox. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Short Stories