Toin

Prose Ephemera

From the moment that he started pulling to the moment the stem broke, he heard–he distinctly heard in the earphones–a faint high-pitched cry, curiously inanimate.  He took another daisy and did it again.  Once more he heard the cry, but he wasn’t so sure now that it expressed pain.  No, it wasn’t pain; it was surprise.  Or was it?  It didn’t really express any of the feelings or emotions known to a human being.  It was just a cry, a neutral, stony cry–a single emotionless note, expressing nothing.  It had been the same with the roses.  He had been wrong in calling it a cry of pain.  A flower probably didn’t feel pain.  It felt something else which we didn’t quite know about–something called toin or spurl or plinuckment, or anything you like.

-excerpt from The Sound Machine, Roald Dahl