“Beyond The Listening” by Lee Hamblin


It’s been five months to the day. They lie down together in a field a sea of scarlet poppies. Her head rests upon his chest, and when their breath has stilled, he asks of her, “What do you hear?”
“I can hear your heart,” she says, “beating ever so slowly… and somewhere up high a falcon’s taunt… and the throat-rattle of a crow… and the low purring hum of an idle engine… and –“
“Listen again,” he says. He strokes her hair, softens his flesh, and her head sinks a little deeper into his ribs. “Go beyond the listening.”
Lately she sometimes doesn’t know what his words mean, and whether she should tell him so. So she closes her eyes and counts his heartbeats from one to ten, and then she begins again from one, and then again, and somewhere along the way there are no numbers anymore.
Then she hears something else.
“There’s a little tap, tap, tapping, coming from inside,” she whispers to herself. She lifts her head to meet his eyes, “There’s a tap, tap, tapping, coming from your heart,” she whispers to him, “but it’s so, so quiet… like somebody is inside there chiseling away at stone.”
He sits up with a start, wraps his hands in hers, and as the poppies bow down in the breeze, they cry joy a little, and she sees him smile once again.



Lee Hamblin is from the UK. He lives and teaches yoga in Greece. He’s had stories published in MoonPark Review, Blue Fifth Review, Ellipsis Zine, Fictive Dream, Flash Frontier, Spelk, Reflex, F(r)online, STORGY, Stories for Homes 2, Bath Flash Fiction Volume 2. He tweets @kali_thea and puts links/words at https://hamblin1.wordpress.com

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