Flash Fiction

Ison Tonic Expressions—Flash Fiction

If you hover your mouse over the links (probably won’t work on mobile devices), you will see what they are about. If you haven’t heard or read about either Ison or the strange sky sounds, you might want to follow appropriate links to get updated. After all, it could be a miracle. Or the end of the world…

Ison Tonic Expressions

Ison, oh strange sky sound,
oh Ison, no bison, you
sound strange, Ison, in the sky,
scion of 4.6 billion years.

An enhanced image of Comet ISON, from Hubble Space Telescope data taken in May 2013. Source: Comet ISON Observation Project (NASA)

An enhanced image of Comet ISON, from Hubble Space Telescope data taken in May 2013.
Source: Comet ISON Observation Project (NASA)

Workers ground the scraper blade at odd hours, the cold air vibrating the sound to wake the dead or the living (who, frankly, sleep more deeply than the dead, especially Frank), who with wonderment wondered what wonder meant in the face of such space sounds—the end, the beginning, the aliens strange at the door?

Knocking. Rumbling. About to knock them over, or raise them up, or play bowling for dollars with the blue-green ball third from the burning light.

No, just construction workers it turns out. And, no, not the sort that indicate that now is the time to grab a towel and a good galaxy hitch-hiking book.


But those other sounds? The harmonics, the rushing winds, the whistling whizzes of vibration and sibilance, consonance, melodic hints and abstract relationships? Ah, the woman with a beard considers, what of those?

She sits in the Toad’s Garden contemplating the template of the sky and the whispering slithering sounds in the grasses, leaves fallen and crisped to signal the single slight movement of the world just above the soil and just under.

“What do you think? Soon Ison, perhaps the great comment of our lifetime, perhaps a dud, will swing by the sun.”

The toad looks solemn and somnolent, past his hibernation (re)creation time situation, this winter hyper nation about to learn the chorus of the messenger choirs they imagine as trumpets calling an ending note. They have no idea.

“Wait. It is not the first time,” he says cryptically. “Waiting is.”


Around the world, the sounds echo in the sky. In Canada, in Russia, in Finland, in the United States, in Europe, for two years now, human ears could hear them, which should not be mistaken for understanding them or anything much.

The Apocalyptics have their triptych vision of angel choirs, end times, and renewal.

The Newly Aged sing songs of peace and harmony, oh water-borne aqueous ferment, peaceful planets and loving stars in the fifth dimension.

The Filmic think of Close Encounters of any kind, with a splinter group singing whale songs from Star Trek Intergalactic Shipping, Inc. A few ride the Four Horsemen into the ground, but they probably overlapped with the Apocalyptics. The future historians (aka forwardians, as they will call themselves) later will debate this question, last week if all goes as predicted.

Paranoidsters stirred conspiracy mud: government piracy, secret brain control waves, and the likely overthrow of freedoms never meant to be given to advanced apes.

The Practical Non-Jokers explained and explained again, complaining of explaining.

Mostly, people did not pay attention to the strange sky sounds, these images from the night.

That is, other than strange sound theorists working on obtaining tenure at academies of advanced advocacy for adhering to advanced advocacies advanced in career enhancing unreadable un-meant prose, who should remain unseen.


The pilot named Nob thought, and the two-kilometer wide scout shifted two degrees. We have to hit the corona of that star just right, rockaway. Otherwise we’ll pull out of shape, or worse.

Don’t you think I know, rockaway scout ship number six-hundred sixty-six point six repeating six vibrated back. My molecules are on the line, too.

Nob shrugged internally. After coming through so much time, I’m sure all our holistic system wants nothing more than to arrive at the transition point.

It’s clearly marked as the blue and green planet third from the star.

They tried together again to send the signal.

We are coming. We return. Are you ready? Will you join us this time?


The woman with a beard and the toad listen. The strange sounds convey time, echoes, and home. The woman with a beard watches the toad.

“Well, didn’t you ever wonder why you could understand me? How I came to have this garden, about the geometric considerations of inter-dimensional semantic shifts in sheltered alcoves of the tadpole pool?”

She never asked such questions. In her experience, so many things remain unexplainable, and are better off left that way.

“So, you will join them?”

“Not just me.”

“Who else?”

He gazed at her.

This amazing photo of Ison was taken by Damian Peach with a 20cm telescope on 15 Novembe

This amazing photo of Ison was taken by Damian Peach with a 20cm telescope on 15 November. Source: BBC News


You can read this story
and other Flash Fiction by Michael Dickel
in The Palm Reading after the Toad’s Garden

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