I’ve heard some terrifying shit in my life. Some of these sounds had very weird effects on perception:
Ten years old: My brother David, 19, six feet tall, 200 pounds, slams his fist into my head. I hear the initial impact. The sound is something I can only describe as pure white. I am vaguely aware of other blows, but as from a distance, the sounds muffled in a dark blanket. I awake in a pool of my own hot blood.
Twelve years old: Camping on my dad’s mountain property. 120 acres surrounded by recovering forests reclaimed from turn of the century clear cutting. I am lying in my cot in a six-person tent after being lost in the forest with my pal and my little brother. We begin to hear a far-away sound getting closer and closer. Is it a motor bike? No. A chain saw? That makes no sense. Finally, lying there, listening, I seem to be the only one aware that the sound is guttural, filled with fluid, living, not mechanical. It’s a pack of dogs, I try to warn everyone. Get inside the tent, I insist. No one listens to me. The sound suddenly stops.
The bear's roar comes from near the tent, across the creek. It is almost something that you can touch. It goes through my body. I quite literally feel it in my bones. It seems to shake the fabric of the tent. The noise is red. It is red, pure rage.
Thirty years old: My wife and son and I are sitting in my car at a gas station, getting ready to merge into the traffic on Sharon-Amity Road. I look to my left and see a dude on a motorcycle accelerating toward us and wait for him to pass. A woman wanting to make a left into the gas station lot decides that her fat ass needs to be fed and so she makes her move, cutting off the cycle rider. He, of course, having done nothing wrong, slams into her car as he is going perhaps 40 miles per hour. The screech of metal on pavement I almost ignore. The wet thud of his body against her automobile is something else, though. It’s imprinted in my mind’s eye: a wet, sound, black, final. The cycle rider dies two days later. The fat bitch eats another cookie.