The Barking Network (Flash Fiction)

in #urbanlegendflash306 years ago (edited)


There is a certain loudness in the world. One that cannot be quelled. It is an arrangement of hate, a concert of violence; it is a choir of dogs. Most of them go unpunished, but not all of them. Not all of them. They say that when a dog is loud enough, it disappears into thin air. That it gets taken and its barks are never heard again. But that is not true. They are heard, alright? Not as loud, not as violent, but they are heard.

“This is not a game, Jeremy. Just tell me where they are.”

Ann Godfrey | Age: 19 | Jacksonville: woof!


“Jesus... they are just kids. You’ve made your point, come on. Tell me where they are and we’ll work this out.”

“Kids are innocent, detective. These people are not innocent. Not one bit.”

“You are a professor of ethics, for fuck’s sake. How can you be okay with this?”

“You do hear them, don’t you? What they say to each other. All the ‘faggots,’ all the ‘brownies,’ all the ‘kill yourselves,’ all the ‘whores.’ All the ‘retards’ and the ‘niggers’ and the ‘go back to your countries’ and the ‘you’ll die alones.’ You do hear them, don’t you? They are beasts. How can you be okay with that?”

“It’s just words, Jeremy. Only words.”

“No, detective. Not words, barks. They spill hate out of their snouts, and they do it with the intent to destroy. It’s all bark. It’s all woof. It’s a horde of rabid dogs bawling into your ears until you can’t hear anything else. No kindness could ever be that loud and the barks, oh, they follow. They follow you at school, they follow you at work, they follow you home, and even when there's nobody else in the room and not a single chirp at night, they throb. It’s a disease-”

“Jeremy, enough! I understand, but you can’t do this. You can’t just lock people up. This is not how we do things, this is-”

“Do you, really? Do you really understand, detective? Have you ever heard the barking? Have you ever had people trying to convince you that there was something broken inside you, something that you could never fix? Have you ever been afraid of what you are?”

Wendy Milford | Age: 21 | Jacksonville: woof!

“This is not the way, Jeremy. These kids have families, they have lives, they have futures. Please, just tell me where they are.”

“They are where they deserve to be.”

“So what, you just lock everyone up? Is this your excuse for a solution?”

“I don’t believe this is a problem that can be solved, detective. If anything, I’m just facilitating the barking. These ‘kids’ you are so hell-bent on saving have almost everything they need. They each have a mattress and running water, they could live for weeks. But that's not the kicker, is it? The keyboard is. They can talk to you whenever they want. Talk to their families, to their friends, to everyone. They can keep spitting hate if they so desire. That chatroom you must be so desperately trying to hack is their window to the world. I’m just a translator. Showing their barks for what they are.”

Craig Williams | Age: 18 | Jacksonville: woof!

“We can get you help, Jeremy. But if you don’t talk, you’ll have their blood on your hands, and for what? A lesson?”

“Justice, detective.”

“How can you call this justice?”

“Justice is what people believe to be just. It’s not carved in granite but doodled in sand. The world is about to change. The barking will be heard. You’ll see.”

“No, Jeremy. I won’t. You think you’ve accomplished something here? You think you are a hero? A prophet? You are a madman. This dies with you.”

“You don’t understand, detective. It has barely started.”

“Crazy piece of sh-”

“Detective Morris! Sorry to barge in, ma'am, but you need to see this.”

“What the fuck, McKenzie? I’m in the middle of interrogation.”

“Ma'am, the chatroom...”

Susan Kerry | Age: 29 | London: woof!
Pallavi Kumar | Age: 23 | Mumbai: woof!
Vera Coelho | Age: 34 | Sao Paulo: woof!
Carina Boehler | Age: 21 | Berlin: woof!
Jairo Estevez | Age: 48 | Puebla: woof!
David Nagel | Age: 63 | Atlanta: woof!
Ye-Jun Rhee | Age: 27 | Seoul: woof!
Regis Elliot | Age: 18 | Ontario: woof!
Anand Patel | Age: 47 | Bangalore: woof!
Timur Borisov | Age: 52 | Moscow: woof!
Maud Carpenter | Age: 66 | Sydney: woof!
Antonio Flores | Age: 51 | Buenos Aires: woof!
Connor Hobbs | Age: 20 | Cape Town: woof!
Ibtisam Karim | Age: 73 | Kabul: woof!
Annemarie Marley | Age: 33 | New York: woof!
Roberto Villalobos | Age: 19 | Quito: woof!
Theodore Veener | Age: 31 | Stockholm: woof!
Sumon Bapary | Age: 22 | Dhaka: woof!
Fehim Marangoz | Age: 37 | Istanbul: woof!
Takara Sasaki | Age: 18 | Tokyo: woof!
Sarah Bassily | Age: 45 | Cairo: woof!
Lucinda Vaquero | Age: 19 | Lima: woof!
Yu Mao | Age: 61 | Tianjin: woof!
Marco Reyes | Age: 26 | Madrid: woof!
Esmeralda Cobb | Age: 41 | Chicago: woof!
Rino Nizzola | Age: 55 | Rome: woof!
Samuel Monette | Age: 31 | Paris: woof!
Eddie Chou | Age: 20 | Taipei: woof!
Aurelia Ungur | Age: 18 | Bucharest: woof!
(53 unread messages)

“Jeremy, what have you done...”

“Can you hear the barking now?”

I really hope you enjoyed this piece. Don’t forget to follow me if you did! @jean.racines

This story was written as an entry for the Urban Legend Flash Fiction Contest hosted by @jrhughes. We were free to work with an existing Urban Legend or to try and write about a new one. This is my attempt at the latter.

In the mood for more stories?

Unedited image sources: Image 1.

Absolutely riveting! Upvote and follow for more of your amazing writing!!!

Thanks, @creationofcare! I'll try my best not to disappoint!

Nice! This is another great example of why fiction and flashfiction are my favorite tags on here.

Really glad you enjoyed, @johnniec!

Oh wow... Is it bad that I'm rooting for Jeremy here? ^_^;
Another brilliant one @jean.racines !
I love how your dialogue fills in the setting, implies actions and gestures... Bravo.

Thanks, Pegasus! I believe that deep down we are all rooting for Jeremy, only a bit, only for a second, but rooting nonetheless!

Enjoyed reading your story. Actually went back and read it one more time just to be sure. :) Crazy cool piece of writing, this is! Upvoted and following you now. :)

You are too kind, sandzat! I'm really happy you enjoyed it = )

I read it twice, too! Super good.

I'm with @jhagi.bhai on this one. I missed it the first time through, reread and now I got some chills. Where could this go? What led to Jeremy doing whatever he did? What did he exactly do? So many directions to take this.

Duly noted, @mk40! I'll work on the crypticness = )

Ok, I didn't get it the first time. Then I went back and now I'm really creeped out. Lol
So many people. Not only Kids. So many places. What's going on in the world? So many people disappearing.
Very cool concept.

I believe that goes hand in hand with the digital era! Old Urban Legends were usually limited by physical space, but since we all pretty much inhabit the internet now, our terrors go global!

Original and inventive little story. Creative twist by layering it over the animal world. Such juxtapositions have a way of making one think about things that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Yeah! I believe animals have a way of portraying unadulterated emotions. A bark can be fear, joy or hatred, but it's pure joy, pure fear or pure hatred. These barks started as are pure hatred. By the end, perhaps they were pure fear.

This post has been chosen to be featured in today's @muxxybot curation post

Congratulations. You have earned 1 Muxxy Buck.

@muxxybot, you are the man! I mean, the bot! Still, you get it right? = D

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You got my nine cents, and my undying admiration, which I wish was worth more than nine cents, but there you go.

Thanks, @cristof! It may be worth 9 cents to steemit, but it's worth all the cents to me! = D

I really loved this, Jean! A great piece of writing!

Thanks, @smuggly-sparrow! This one was pretty hard to write = )

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