A travelling salesman is driving along a dusty backroad to his next sale, when his car starts belching smoke. He sees storm clouds coming his way and night is falling soon. Getting out of the car he looks around for shelter and sees an antiquated old monastery on a hill not 5 minutes walk away. He heads over and knocks on the door just as the rain starts falling and a kindly monk answers.
"Hi, my car is broken down on the road" says the salesman, "and I see a storm coming in. Can I stay the night and call a tow truck in the morning? I won't be any trouble..."
"not at all my good man" the kindly monk replied, "Come in! Come in! Lets get you a hot meal and some dry clothes!"
So the salesman is ushered into the church and given a wonderful bowl of hearty stew and bread to eat. Not realizing his hunger before the salesman devours the food in between words of thanks.
"I don't know how I can repay you people..."
"well actually" said the kindly monk who answered the door, "our abbot bores so easily in the realitive solitude of our church, and he loves to talk with travelers"
"of course!" replied the salesman, "in return for this hospitality its the least I could do"
So the kindly monk leads the salesman deeper into the monastery and as he does he hears the faintest sound... thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... But the salesman thinks its just the storm outside making noise and pays it no mind. He reaches the abbots quarters and meets a man seeminglyas ancient as the building he runs who greets him with a smile and firm handshake. The two speak to each other at length with hours seeming like minutes as the storm pounds the outside, and all the while the man hears that same noise... thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... Eventually the conversation draws to a natural end and the abbot looks over the salesman's shoulder. "good heavens, look at the time. we both should get some rest" the abbot commented, "the brother you met before will take you to your chambers for the night" And so the salesman is taken to his spartan looking accommodations, and just as the kindly monk is leaving the room the salesman asks, "by the way, i keep hearing this strange thumping sound all the time. Its that normal? What is that?" The monk looks down at his feet, and for the first time since the salesman came into the monastery the smile falls from his face. He quickly stares at the floor and stammers, "I-I-I don't know what you're talking about. Sleep well." Slamming the door behind him. The salesmans sleep is restless as now the same sound as before stays next to him, breathing on his neck.... thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... When dawn breaks the salesman calls a tow truck, and while waiting says his goodbyes and thank yous. Finally when the tow truck arrives he turns to the abbot and says, "thank you so much for everything again, but I must ask; what is that strange thudding noise I hear? The storm is over yet I heard it clearly all night?" The monk gains a sudden steel in his eyes and locks them dead onto the salesman. "I can't tell you, you're not a monk." And with that, bids him farewell. The salesman finishes his route without incident, and heads home to his wife and child. But incessantly, as if by hearing it he could no longer un-hear it, at the quietest moments in his life, the salesman hears a soft thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... The seasons pass into years and the years pass into decades. The mans son grows and leaves to be his own man, and after decades of bliss the mans wife passes away peacefully in his arms one morning. As the life leaves his loves eyes the only sound heard is a simple thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... With a life now emptier the thudding becomes constant, unceasing, droning. When he sleeps, eats, shits thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... Finally, standing it no longer the man drives all day and night to the same dirt road he so happened to break down upon and every mile, every town he passes as constant as the odometer thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... Finally he reaches the monastery and knocks on the door and just as before a fresh faced kinly monk answers. "I WISH TO JOIN YOUR ORDER" the man blurts before the monk can say anything. The monk gains a knowing smile and says no more, beckoning the man to follow him. He leads the man on the same path he took those years and years before and directs him into the abbots room. Inside is the same man as the night he stayed before, looking not a day older. "Please abbot." The man begged, "I can't stop hearing that thudding noise, night and day I can't escape it. Can't you let me know what it is?" The abbot replies with the same steely matter-of-fact tone as he did all those years before, "I can't tell you, you're not a monk." "Thats what I feared your answer would be. Please then, let me become a monk so I can learn and get this sound from my head." The abbot takes a long look, dripping with both hunger and pity and after a handful of breathes agrees." The training is arduous and lengthy. The salesman is not a young man anymore and the demands, moth mental and physical task him to the core of his very being. He sleeps on stone, reads nothing but the texts of the obscure religious sect he wishes to join and eats nothing but gruel and through every minute, every blister, every headache, every pang of hunger the sound is there. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... Finally after several years worth of trails the man finally is ready to be inducted. The moment after the ceremony inducting him is complete he bolts to the chambers of the abbot. "There, I did it. I'm a member of the order. NOW TELL ME WHAT THAT NOISE IS." "Are you sure you wish to know?" the abbot grimaces, "It will change the way you think of not just the order, or me, but everything." "Yes!" the man cries "I've never been more sure of anything in my life!" "Very well" replied the abbot. And with that the sound in the mans head lessened, as if the promise curiosity being fed was able to sate the beast, even if for a moment. But still, even though quieter it was still present. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... The abbot pulls a seemingly random book off the shelf behind him, and opens it. He reveals it to be hollow and pulls a monstrous set of keysfrom it and tucks them into his sleeve. He then pulls another book from the shelf and the shelf splits in half and opens like the doors in a supermarket with the sound of the grinding of ancient stone. Where the shelves used to be there is a door made of iron. The abbot pulls theset of keys out with an iron key extended, opens the door and swings it aside. As the man follows the abbot into the path behind the door he notices the sound getting louder. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... They walk along a dark and musty path, the air like a forgotten wine cellar or crypt with the abbot wordlessly staring forward with grim purpose. He reaches the next door, a door made of polished bronze, reflecting as perfectly as a mirror. He pulls out a bronze key from the keyring in his sleeve and opens the door. Sure enough as the man passes though, a little louder this time thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... After the bronze door came a staircase, down and down and down it went, until it seemed that they were descending into hell itself. Windingstairs, spiral stairs, branching stairs leading to nowhere and yet the two marched on, reaching a silver door. The abbot pulled out a silver key and as before set the door aside, making the sound ever louder. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... And then, it was time to climb. Yet the abbot, a man of innumerable years climbed as surefooted as a goat while the salesman followed behind, exhausted but determined not to give up now. At the apex of the climb, a door of gold was before them. The abbot then pulled a gold key, andin the grim routine as before, the door fell aside and the sound became ever louder. It seemed to be right next to them, a tangible force. Athird person on this bizarre trek. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... After the golden door came a maze. Dizzying and seemingly endless, the abbot had no hesitation in his step and never second guessed himself.Hours passed in the maze as hours had passed in all the paths before and yet without ever turning around the abbot and the salesman reached a platinum door. As you can guess, platinum key, door, noise. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... As the man walked into the next door he hesitated for the first time on his trip. The walls themselves seemed to be alive, screaming things inalien tongues as if the brick and mortar where being tortured. Grotesque faces in the masonry screamed as if every injustice upon earth was being visited upon them and yet somehow they could not drown out that sound, pounding louder than it ever had. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... After the hours that seemed of days in the pathway that screamed ceaselessly they reached a door, red and pulsing, as if made of some sort of flesh. The abbot pulled out a bony, fleshy....something from his keyring and inserted it into the door. All at once the walls stopped screaming, the flesh melted into nothing on the floor and the sound grew terrible and great. Louder and unchanged. thump thump...thump thump...thump thump... Behind the former wall of flesh was not another passage but a box. Wooden small and humble. The abbot pulled out one final key of wood and unlocked and opened the box. As he pulled the box open the sound became deafeningly loud and the man finally looked inside and gave a horrified scream. He saw his son getting buttraped by midget demon clowns.