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Listening In

Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

For such a turning point in my life, the night I acquired a certain item is cemented in my mind only because of how mundane it was. I didn’t chance upon a dusty tome buried amidst a pile of mouldering books in a university library nor did I chance upon a madman with a basket of trinkets in a Bangladeshi backstreet. I was sat in my underwear, lit only by a dull blue glow from my computer monitor, browsing eBay for nothing in particular.

The music in my ears fluctuated again, the soulful notes of Toxic by Britney Spears being ebbed away, replaced by a strange yet familiar concoction of static and oppressive silence. I rolled my eyes and removed my headphones, tapping them against my palm while muttering half-formed sentences expressing my distain for ever purchasing them. After a few minutes of tapping refused to exorcise the demons in my earpieces, I began to browse for a replacement. I then, on that most unassuming of nights, stumbled upon a posting that would have irrevocable implications for me.

“Wireless Headphones. Unwanted present, only used once. Bought as a gift for my nephew. Only used once, given back to me “Because of the talking in them” Guaranteed good condition, no point letting them go to waste because of an overactive imagination”.


The auction seemed like an amazing deal, only an hour or so left, a fraction of the retail price, paid delivery. I placed a bid and took myself to bed, trusting the late hour to protect me from having my new trinket stolen from me. As it happened, I was right and they arrived a few days later.

That was when things began to happen. As I connected them to my pc, I could feel a strange heaviness to the air, like the charge in the air before a thunderstorm. I dismissed it easily enough; I thought it was simply a symptom of the muggy summer air.

An hour or so later, permitting the things to accrue a decent amount of charge, I placed them on my head, and flicked the power switch. I was surprised to find, however, that there was no background static. There was a deep silence. Childish as the notion seemed at the time, it felt just like the silence of a tomb. There was also the hint of another sound, the raspy hiss of a whisper on the edge of hearing. I cast it from my mind and tested the sound quality by playing a classical piece, the finale to swan lake. To my eternal shame I felt a flutter of relief as the beautiful notes of Tchaikovsky’s ballet cut through the silence. After a few minutes, however, I was pulled away from the reports I was busying myself with as I heard a familiar buzz of static in my ear, only now with a disturbing new sound mixed in.

Voices. Maybe hundreds, all talking at once in a hoarse, drawn out whisper. Some were too fast to comprehend, others too slow. Some were in different languages, some in long-dead tongues of syllables unpronounceable. I broke out in a sweat, eyes wide. I was the subject of these voices, the understandable ones at least. They spoke of my choice of music, the cut of my new clothes, the reports strewn across my desk. One voice cut through the throng however, a dirty sounding diseased rasp. It said only one thing, but it was enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck rise and my heart pound. It said, merely;

“It’s noticed us,”

I threw the headphones from my head and tore from the room. As I did, I heard a burst of oppressive, heavy noise burst from the headphones, a terrifying mix of an air-raid siren and the static screech of an unturned radio.


It was at this point I decided I needed to be out of the house. I bolted down the stairs, leaping the last few. As I fought with the tangle of keys that resided on the small table by my living room door, I heard another sound, or more accurately a lack of it. An oppressive, murky silence had overtook the whole house. Behind me I heard a rising hum as the TV turned itself on, bathing the room in shifting shadows. From the static on the screen the head and shoulders of a man resolved. With a sickening sound of papers and flesh tearing an arm burst forth, implanting a shifting grey and white hand upon the ground with a curiously wet smack. Then the other came through with an equally sickening herald. The figure then began to flail itself forward and back, battering its head against the inside of the screen until it burst through with a sound akin a coconut being hit by a truck. Thus freed, it’s upper half flopped pathetically onto the floor, pulling the remainder of its body through with a series of motions and sounds that made me sick to my stomach.

I felt my legs fail beneath me, slumping to the ground, my car keys pointed forward in a parody of a defensive stance. It came towards me, walking on its hands and feet until I could feel it next to my face, a horrid smelling mist the odour of old books and rotting flesh lurching into my nostrils in a ragged wheeze. I tensed up, waiting to feel jaws on my throat, hands around my neck, anything, but none came. Through trembling lips I managed to force a single question to the strange creature.

“W…Why are you here,” I stammered. I could feel it smiling.

“You heard us,” it said, in a voice full of malice and pain “You listened to us, you’re our toy now,” It laughed, a hollow, empty sound. “Lucky you,” And then, I was alone. I felt the presence go, the oppressive sounds of static and dull silence stripped away leaving the usual night sounds in its wake.


I don’t know how long I lay there, staring at nothing, before sleep overtook me. When next awoke I took the headphones and gave them to a charity shop. A symbolic gesture, for now those terrible spectres visit me nightly, that horrible shifting man their herald, getting their fun from seeing my human fear.

But that brings us to the real reason I’m telling this story. Be careful when you stare into a screen of static, or hear what a rational man would assume to be interference of your headphones, or even when you’re in complete silence. Be careful not to listen to closely, for strange and terrible things lurk in that maelstrom of black and white.

And once they find you, you will never, ever be free.

Credited to Obnoxious Brit.

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed under any circumstance.

89 thoughts on “Listening In”

  1. Anyone notice the mention of Brittany Spears, the finale of Swan Lake, and the voices in the headphones mocking his choice in music? Come on i can’t be the only one!! XD

  2. -_- I’m appalled…people who write this poorly shouldn’t be allowed to write! just right at their own skill level.

  3. the hash slinging slasher

    it started out spooky but the ending crashed and burned. It sounded like the writer was trying to make something out of nothing in the last couple of paragraphs. I really did enjoy the writing at the beginning, I loved the vocabulary, with a little bit of editing this could be a seriously great pasta.

  4. Okay, I shat brix. I’m using a pair of headphones, and I’m near a TV. I am also sedatephobic (I have a fear of silence).

    No sleep for me tonight.


  5. Wait, toy?


    so i herd teh static lieks surpriz but secks?

    …Ok, never again will I combine Liek Mudkipz with Surprise Sex like that

  6. Well, I’m sure I got something new to say about this pasta. Oh, wait-

    “This was weak, verbose and utterly pointless.

    Britney Spears fan buys cheap headphones, hears voices, ghoul comes out of TV and says “pwned, bitch”.

    Also, WHO WAS PHONES?”

    Damn, somebody beat me to my own damn opinion.

    It was horrible, with no redeeming qualities. The character came off as a teenage dumbass- literally everything he/she did annoyed the piss out of me, and the end made me rage. Really, I am trying to be nice, but when you don’t even go to the trouble of proofreading something, I lose my sense of humor. Maybe if you spent less time trying to narrate like you’re a scholar from the eighteen hundreds, then you story might have been just deplorable and dry.

    Can’t say much outside of what’s already been said, but my take on your writing is that it is what would happen if Stephanie Meyer had been thrown in a bag, screaming, and had been hit repeatedly with an oar, then told to write something, “Scawwy”. The result? Retardedly flowery and incredibly pointless. Thank you, folks, I’ll be here all week.

  7. “It said, merely;

    “It’s noticed us,””

    Do those headphones have a microphone, because when they said that, I would have said “Ohaider, do you like mah music?”

  8. i really disappointed that there was no concern from anyone as to how the writer knows what a coconut being hit by a truck sounds like. that was the only thing i remember from this damned story. cause when the coconut was hit by that truck the story was ruined, i couldnt quit laughing!

  9. I didn’t mind this pasta. Ending was cliche and kinda lame, but the part where the thing popped through the TV was really cool.
    7/10 I guess.

  10. Mkay, well.. I liked it! But I’ve heard it before..

    It sounds like a mix of that Twilight Zone episode where all the technology in that one guy’s house randomly turns on and talks to him and the Ring. Specifically, the scene where the girl comes out of the T.V. Anyone else? Or was that just me.. :\

  11. Miss Sloppilydone

    I like that creature’s personality. I could get along with him.

    The voices seemed a bit too innocent and cute. :o But you know. That’s just my opinion.

  12. Nice descriptions on the sound effects

    end was a little cliche, why would he give the headphones away if it would only curse more people?

  13. Well actually TV and radio “fuzz” us produced by most electronic things in our daily lives, or by the magnetic interaction from the earths magnetic field or that of the sun.
    Most of it though is caused by cosmic background radiation which are basically echoes of the big bang. Because god isn’t real.

  14. It got so good and then all flopped down. And no, it wasn’t because of the taste in music nor the grammatic/typo errors that were pointed out. It was the whole “The Ring” moment. Come on, The Ring is scary as hell on TV when you’re watching it by yourself in a dark room but it’s not scary when repeated in a story that was going pretty well.

    The part where it said “It’s noticed us” gave me chills and goosebumps all over. Some parts were even slightly amusing such as the car key as defense part.

    Ugh, just wish that the presence thingie didn’t have to climb out of the TV. Otherwise, nicely written in my opinion.

  15. I LOVED IT! The climax for me was when the raspy whispering guy said “He’s noticed us”. I think I closed the page for a while, too scared to continue but it was so good I had to finish it off. Although slightly cliche, I still thought it was a pretty good story. Good job! I saw a lot of criticism, and not a lot of praises, so I had to tell you that even with its flaws it was still pretty awesome!

  16. I didn’t like it too much. Just wasn’t all that good, and everyone here has pointed out the numerous flaws already.

    I did like one thing, however. I know everyone was complaining about the ripoff of The Ring scene, but I found that it was probably the most well written part of this fail pasta. True, I did have the image of Samara while reading it, but it was creepy nonetheless.
    Of course, then it had to go and be ruined by that corny and completely predictable next paragraph, at which point I began rolling my eyes and skipping sentences to get to the end.

  17. Chinchillazilla

    I liked it pretty well until the guy came out of the TV. That’s such a famous scene from The Ring that you really can’t do it again ever without seeming like a ripoff.

  18. Eh, gives itself away too early and then blows it’s load all at once. Needs some better pacing.

  19. Wouldn’t it be smarter to destroy the headphones, than give them to some poor individual in Charity.

  20. Brohan and Brosef

    It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either. It was reasonably well written, but the story itself was expected.

  21. I liked it with its mistakes and all. It wasn’t scary but it had a bit of suspense, and was written well.

  22. The writer seemed to be trying too hard to come across as deep and intelligent. And with the little mistakes I found in the spelling and grammar, that illusion didn’t last very long. I’m not saying that the writer of this pasta was unintelligent or anything, just that a simpler style would have been better. Personally, I found it a bit distracting. I actually couldn’t really focus on the actual pasta, and so I had no chance of shitting bri/x/ and merely lifted an eyebrow at the end of it.
    A style like this, especially when not done right, doesn’t make it a memorable pasta. In fact, I can’t even remember enough of it to make a BUT WHO WAS joke right now.

    Sorry, but not very good.

  23. It was a good story. Really, it was. I just didn’t like it. I’m not entirely sure what turned me away from it. It might’ve been the fact that you were listening to Britney Spears, or it might’ve been the repitition that kinda annoyed me. Either way, I just can’t honestly say I enjoyed it. A roaring good effort, though.


  24. Patrick Bateman

    This was weak, verbose and utterly pointless.

    Britney Spears fan buys cheap headphones, hears voices, ghoul comes out of TV and says “pwned, bitch”.


  25. Ditto to green

    twas horribly cliche
    It was very well written and had good description which is what kept my interest. However, the scare tactics with the dude coming out of the TV was uninspired and far too much like every other horror movie plot in recent years (a trend started by the ring). Its sad that not many people can come up with anything new nowadays.
    I gave up on the possibility of any new movies scaring me so I turned to literature, hoping that it would. But with pasta like this, I’m not so sure.

    sorry to be such an ass about it but there are others out there that agree

  26. Amazing how polarized the reviews for this story are! I personally thought it was a tad bit below average. It started out promising, but then kind of fizzled out into cliched crap.

  27. eh. chills. they left quickly. i think the only reason i got them is because im currently wearing a set of Sony MDR-V150 things. and listening to NiN but hey, i liked it. little too white noise for me, but ehh. not too bad. kudos. (:

  28. Not bad, really. A better handling of the “horrible secrets of static and white noise” type pasta than most.

  29. I don’t know if this was the point or not, but the ending makes me think that it wasn’t the headphones at all, it was just that the people who owned them listened too closely. Maybe that was just coincidence?

  30. I have to say that the whole “hidden voices inside the white noise” thing is a bit upsetting to read again, seeing as it’s already been written up too many times for it to be surprising.

    Still, I thought this pasta made it a bit more detailed, and therefore somewhat original. Some grammatical errors, but otherwise an alright pasta.

  31. This was a pretty good pasta for me, but I don’t like how most pastas have that concluding line that overly sums up the purpose.

    But besides that and a few grammatical errors, it was creepy! :D

  32. Lovely. I liked how the use of first-person perspective was used, but it would have been so much better without that last paragraph.

  33. I think it was okay, but the last two paragraphs were rushed and it ended a bit badly.

    Overall it was just… meh.

    1. FlamingUmbrellas


  34. The “Only used once, given back to me “Because of the talking in them” bit kinda gave the whole point away.
    Also, the ending is kinda cliche, I was hoping for something more original that something has made the main character its toy for all eternity, blah blah blah…

  35. I don’t know, I didn’t like it. Seems like the author of this short was kind of trying too hard almost. Writing wise, description.. just didn’t do it for me. Also, shitty taste in music. But that’s besides the point.

    Descriptive words are good- but only when they are used in the right sentences & for the right meaning. There was a lot of repetition in this story, and some spelling/grammar errors that took away from it. And like I said, it just seems like the author of this was trying too hard to come across as an in depth writer. There’s a thin line between sounding smart & polished compared to sounding dumb & using words beyond your skill level.

    Hope that wasn’t too harsh.

    1. I don’t know, I didn’t like this comment. Seems like the commenter was trying to be too insightful. Critically, it’s pretty vague… Just didn’t do it for me. And kind of ad hominem, but that’s beside the point.

      Good points are crucial, but only when they constructively aid the creative process of the original author. There’s not a lot of professionalism in this comment. And like I said, I just think this commenter was trying too hard to come off as an insightful yet brutally honest critic. There’s a thin line between comic off as jaded and shrewd, and just being silly in your critique.

      Hope that wasn’t too harsh.

  36. “terrifying mix of an air-raid siren and the static screech of an unturned radio.”

    Someone’s been playing too much Silent Hill.

    …Or maybe it’s just me XD

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