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The Screechers

The Screechers


Chapter 1: First Contact

We, the Felial, are a proud warrior clan. Conquering inferior worlds and species is our birthright. So when our eyes fell upon the backwater planet Earth, we expected an easy victory that would bring glory to our Clan.

Oh, how splendid it was that day when we, the superior Felial clan, marched through the fields of Earth. I, Furlix, led a squad, confident of an easy victory. My brood-litter and I were eager for combat upon landing. Our initial sorties went smoothly as the apes fled before our might. Their odd smooth skins and furless bodies amused us. They had no natural armor or weapons – surely this conquest would be simple. We had subjugated countless worlds, what threat could these feeble creatures pose to us? The humans were primitive, their technology laughably outdated.

Then we had our first personal encounter with a human who had barricaded herself inside a quaint little house. I cracked the door with a slight press of my paw, like breaking into a doll's house — utterly ridiculous! Inside, we found a woman, her eyes wide with fear, trembling like a leaf. She was the first human we could claim as a prize, to witness our splendor, our magnificence... who am I kidding? She looked petrified!

Oh, how wrong we were. How she punished us for our hubris.

As my subordinate reached for her, she unleashed her secret power upon us. As she opened her mouth we expected her to beg for her life. But instead she let out the most agonizing sound that ever reached my ears!

An incredibly loud high-pitched piercing screech, inflicting immense pain and distress upon us, as if needles or glass shards were piercing our eardrums. But even worse, the screech induced confusion and hallucinations; its jarring sound disrupted our very thoughts!

My subordinate, standing next to the female, immediately collapsed, searing pain all over his face, his ears bleeding, blooded foam dripping out of his mouth!

The rest of us, even though further away and not the immediate target of this acoustic agony, also suffered pain and confusion. We held our paws over our ears, the pain so intense that I saw stars behind my closed eye lids and tasted metal in my mouth!

It was as if her gaping mouth had become a sonic cannon, tuned to the exact frequency to cripple my kind!

My squad writhed on the ground, clutching their ears, while she effortlessly continued the attack! The pain became even more unbearable, as if a thousand kinetics were fired into our brains. Just when I thought my cranium would rupture, the pinkskin stopped her cursed screeching and fled.

Slowly, we recovered, still badly confused from the nerve-wracking attack, not fully understanding what had just happened, too ashamed to cope with what she did to us. "A fluke," we joked, "A one-off anomaly."

We were wrong, oh so wrong.

We should have retreated then, reported this secret power to our superiors. But no, we pushed on, foolishly underestimating these humans.


Chapter 2: A new Power

The next attack came from a tiny female, barely up to my hips. When she saw us, she didn’t flee. No. She ran towards us, a strange, murderous glee in her eyes. Then she let out an ear-splitting screech that dropped my entire squad instantly. The sound was like a supernova in my ears, a cataclysmic explosion of pure terror. We writhed on the ground and the girl didn't stop. The wicked creature toyed with us, alternating her screeching to keep us writhing in agony, obviously experimenting with how to hurt us best, an evil smile dancing on her lips.

The girl's auditory assault claimed three of my soldiers. Good soldiers, strong soldiers. Gone within a minute, their lives ended by a... by a child! Barely able to think straight, we crawled away, leaving the fallen behind.

My brood-brother Xixix was the next casualty I witnessed. The poor fool wandered around a corner, came to stand close to a group of human spawnlings. Before we could stop him, the tiny humans unleashed their screeches in unison. Green blood poured from Xixix's ears as he spasmed helplessly. Hadn't another human pulled away the tiny monsters he would have been done for. By the time we dragged him to safety, the damage was done. He never heard again.

Sonic weapons capable of bringing even the hardiest Felial warrior to their knees. We never expected such unseen strength in mere females. After that, my subordinates understandably became nervous around human females. Some even refused orders if it meant approaching their lethal screeches. Our usually disciplined warriors descended into chaos when the screeches struck. It shames me to admit it, but more than one hardened Felial warrior soiled their armor out of primal fear.

We sought refuge in a nearby forest, attempting to recover and rid ourselves of the painful fog that the screeches had inflicted upon our minds. The pain went deeper than just our ears; it affected our very thoughts. It shouldn't be possible, but it is the truth.

While we recovered and tended our wounds, one of my subordinates spotted a female stalking through the bushes towards us! As she spotted us she laughed towards us in her squeaky voice… “Hi you bastards, I have come to sing at your funeral!” she laughed and then she unleashed another focused screech at us!

We ran. We simply ran! We Felial are fast runners and quickly put distance between ourselves and the sadistic creature. However, while we were swift, humans never seemed to tire. She hunted us through the forest, constantly trying to get close enough to unleash her vociferous brutality upon us. Oh, how she exhausted us. We neared collapse, gasping for air, clutching trees with shaky knees, praying for respite. And over and over again, the woman was upon us, releasing another ear-piercing screech!

If my brood-mate Frelix hadn't sacrificed himself, none of us would have survived. He had reached his breaking point, grabbed his gun, stomped towards the woman, and bought us time. We ran. After a few seconds, we heard the woman's deadly screech once more behind us. Louder, longer. Then she stopped screeching and began to laugh triumphantly. We simply ran. We made it back to our landing site, regrouped with the scattered remainder of our forces, thanks to Frelix's sacrifice.

Yet, even after regrouping, the horror only escalated. The humans, those crafty little devils, had organized their screechers into their forces, even amplifying their screeches using speakers. While it didn't cloud and confuse our minds as severely as a real female screech, our ears still bled even from afar. However, nothing was as terrible as a female screeching at close range. The deepest pits of hell couldn't compare to that agony. We couldn't get near them.

In the end, even the sight of a woman taking a deep breath was enough to send our warriors into a panicked run. The losses were mounting, and Earth, the simple and primitive Earth, was becoming a graveyard for our kind.


Chapter 3: The Nightmares

And thus, dear reader, concludes the tale of the failed invasion of Earth. It serves as a cautionary tale for all superior alien species out there—a story of hubris, underestimation, and, well, screeches. We were powerless against them. Over time, the attrition eroded our morale entirely. It was better to retreat with whatever dignity remained than to endure another minute facing those shrieking harpies.

We fled back to the stars, tails tucked between our legs, carrying the lingering echoes of those screeches with us. The mighty Felial, defeated by a horde of screeching humans. Quite the punchline, isn't it?

Years have passed since our dishonorable defeat, yet the memory of those screeches continues to haunt my nightmares. Though the Felial may be superior warriors, the innate biological terror weapons wielded by the humans utterly thwarted us. We traversed light-years to conquer Earth, only to be driven away by their screeching females. Truly, we underestimated them at our own peril.

Now, we give Earth a wide berth. Our military leaders pretend it never happened, but veterans like myself still tremble when a female raises her voice. The humans have earned our respect and fear. Their females wield screeches like we wield kinetics. I pity the next foolish race that tries to conquer Earth without accounting for the screechers.


Chapter 4: Epilogue

I came up with this story as my niece unleashed her screeches next to us at the coffee table.

My ears were ringing for a whole hour. Pure Pwnage.

The human voice can evoke immense panic even in the most ferocious wild animals. Humans, especially women and young kids, have the ability to screech at incredibly loud high frequencies, causing discomfort to all creatures in their vicinity. The frequency is evolutionary tuned to maximize discomfort for most mammals. This unique ability serves as a defense mechanism exclusive to humans.

Loudest cry on Earth at 129db

Sonic Weapons

Human Screams Occupy a Privileged Niche in the Communication Soundscape

And if you're still skeptical, I invite you to sit at a kids' playground for a while and let the screeches reach your ears.

  • The frequency is evolutionary tuned to maximize discomfort for most mammals.

    This is a really cool fact, can I ask where you found it? I tried searching for a few variations of “max discomfort frequency scream mammals,” “scream deter mammals” and the like, and I am not finding this anywhere.

    Curious because if true it might be useful to keep wildlife away from your house, or to know to avoid (or approach, if you’re trying to cause discomfort) if you’re a musician composing a piece.

    Thanks for writing! I enjoyed the story.

    • Good question... you will easily find information about predators being scared by human voices. The screeching though... I think I learned it from a kids educational show back in the 1980ths. Also at least around Germany there are tons of alarm systems using acoustics to hurt intruders. They usually operate around the common screech frequency of females and are really nasty. Even hearing protection does little to tone it down. I have seen videos of people with hearing protection simply throwing up after 30 seconds of exposure. The problem, I have no idea how they are named in English. I know them as "Akkustische Keule". Maybe Acoustic Club or Sonic Deterrents might ring a bell?

      As harshly as lethal weapons are regulated (even carrying knifes is highly regulated) around here... non-lethal is laughable regulated. Pepper Spray free to own and use at 14, even free to carry at school, Tasers, Acoustic Systems (I don't think there are portable ones), Microwave-Systems at 18. The last one is especially nasty, comes in a version which looks like a phaser from Star Trek, range easily 50 metres and they burn like hell by directly stimulating your pain receptors. No lasting damage and the only reason they are not yet available at 14 is the demand for more tests. Tried most of them, some voluntarily, some involuntarily.

  • As a human female I’m starting to wonder about the demographics of HFY fans. Not because there’s anything wrong with your story that makes me go “how could any other women like this” but just because this story singles us out.

    • Well, adult men simply don't hit the sweat point with their screeches. 😁

      I intentionally left the males out of the story, for the Invasion force they simply didn't matter. I carefully even avoided why they didn't play a role because for a short story it really would have just distracted. Might be interesting to write the story from the human side. Sadly the story got so little upvotes on Reddit and Royal Road that I am a bit demotivated right now. A zero effort story like "Two cruisers with ammunition" gets 600+ upvotes and stories like "Day of the Fat man", "The Tale Bearer" and "The Screechers" end up with 20-30... 🤪

      Your question why I made this story is valid and made me wonder where my idea came from. I myself am a straight boring man, quite some hulk at 190cm and 120kg but if you ask me who is the strongest person I know: My Grandma. The horrors she survived, the incredible deeds she accomplished and the warm heart she had would make "Schindler's List" look like a kids adventure.

      The idea behind "The Screechers" was loosely inspired from a book named "The Power", suggested by Barrack Obama, where all women suddenly could produce powerful electricity with their hands. The moral behind the story is actually brilliant, sure women start to turn the world upside down. Writing itself was also good although pretty naughty and sadistic at places, but definitely thought provoking. I just disliked that everybody in the story was "unlikeable", plain Walking Clueless and Humanity What the Fuck. Also for a studied electric engineer a lot of techno babble sounded like Hogwarts magic. As it left like a bazillion plot holes open, I played around with the idea for a bit and came up with "Screaming would have been a better option". Still, if I remember it after all these years it must have been better than a lot of other books I read meanwhile.

      I had forgotten about the book and my idea until my eight year old niece let lose. Oh, you should have seen her smug grin after everyone was like "Outsch that hurt"...

      I also have a little writing lingering around under the title "The Diplomatic Battalion: Gunboat Diplomacy in the 29th century" where the diplomats have bodyguards in mech suits and for size reasons they are mostly manned by small females. Some high tech is better with small sized humans. Technology is a powerful equalizer.

      Hopefully I find time to finish "Diplomatic Battallion" over the next winter, until now I only have five experimental chapters.

      • Sorry about the upvote problem, there’s something to be said about “write for yourself” but also something to be said about wanting to share your idea with the world and wondering what the point is when nobody else seems to want to engage with your ideas. I sort of feel this, as I’ve been trying to increase activity on some Fediverse communities I enjoy by participating but they still feel somewhat dead and like it consists of just me and a few other people desperately trying to keep our kbin magazine active. It’s not quite the same as actually being a story author though!

        I feel like a lot of HFY I enjoy reading probably couldn’t have me as one of the FY humans, because a lot of it is about physical feats I can’t accomplish and have no interest in accomplishing, war, or doing crazy cool things out of spite or insanity. They’re fun to read, don’t get me wrong. But I’m a milquetoast uncreative civilian who just wants everyone to be nice to each other and I have no interest in changing that. And although I will stand up for myself, I’m not one for spite. So I appreciate having a story where I actually would realistically participate in the FY component of humanity being demonstrated in the story without radically changing my whole personality—that being driving predators off with my voice. (And yes, I’m fully aware we do have other stories: ones about pack bonding, about music, medicine, self-sacrifice… I used to find stories for people in the Looking For Story threads on r/hfy a lot. Part of that was frequently referring others to stories u/sswanlake found and giving u/sswanlake credit. Including stuff from the “stories not about fighting” list.)

        Thank you for talking about the inspiration behind the story and your reasoning behind some of your choices—that kind of thing is always interesting to read.