Monday, October 24, 2022

“Every Day the Music Died” • by Jenna Hanchey


They took the music away, but left the feelings it evoked. Today’s wave of nostalgia washed over me like a child standing too deep in the water. I had always felt this when—it was on the tip of my tongue—when that musician played, the one my ex loved. I tried to grasp the tune, even though I knew it was impossible.

I assumed they left the feelings on purpose. In my more generous moods, I thought they must be running tests, trying to understand human emotional ties to sound. We probably inspired the methodology; god knows we’d run enough experiments on them. But as I grew more desperate, reaching for sounds that no longer registered, melodies truly unchained from human experience, my read shifted.

Torture, my mind shouted above the silence. Torture.

The emotions would recede, after awhile. And alone in the pressure-adjusted chamber, deep under the sea, I remembered. Octopuses did not understand sound. They communicated through color and motion. Our feelings for music were an oddity to be explored.

I’d felt haunted when I heard the song my ex loved everywhere after she left. I was wrong.

The true haunting was the weight of its absence.


Jenna Hanchey
is a communication professor by day and a speculative fiction writer in the day. She lives in Reno and teaches courses at the University of Nevada on racism, colonialism, and communicating across difference. Her research examines neocolonialism in Western aid to Africa, and how Africans use Africanfuturism to imagine their own developmental futures. Somehow she manages to act, sing, and rock climb, too! Notable credits include Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest and Elaine Wheeler in Night Watch. She's also a voice-actor, narrating the audiobooks in Emily S. Hurricane's Bloodlines series. Her fiction has also appeared in Daily Science Fiction and the Apex Microfiction Contest. Follow her adventures on Twitter (@jennahanchey) or at