They heard a snatch of laughter

The last sentence in this passage has another parallel structure, but it's a little more complex than the previous snippet.

They heard a snatch of laughter and pop music as the pub door opened and closed; then they heard a carol start up inside the little church.

Again the effect is all about nice things seeming small and distant: a snatch of laughter, a carol starting up in a little church.

He saw the shadow of a child playing as he walked past an open window; then he saw a carriage leave from a grand house at the end of the street.

He heard a rattle of keys in locks as a door closed downstairs; then he heard a rumble in the lift-well on the other side of the wall.

She caught a fragment of conversation as the nurses walked behind the hedge; then she heard a bell ring from the tower on the hill.

Write your own variation.