Voices. Short Story.

My weekend was pretty awesome. On Friday a friend came over and we watched movies, then Saturday I went trampolining, laser tagging and bowling with some friends and their younger siblings. It’s been a while since I’d done any of it either, I think I was maybe ten or eleven the last time I played laser tag. Definitely a nostalgic event.

hope everyone else had a good one!
On with the show!

_______________________________________________________________

Jane was sitting on the couch, head in her hands, trying to ignore the cries from outside. They’d leave soon, she just had to hold out for a little while and then they’d be gone. She dug her nails into her scalp, using the pain to help block out the noise. They had caught her unaware, if they heard her moving around inside, they’d become louder, more insistent, stay for hours and hours. She knew it wasn’t them, that what ever it was had stolen their voices, but that didn’t make it any easier. She had tried everything to block them out but nothing worked, it was like they were speaking directly into her ears. She had tried headphones and earplugs, but they were worse than useless, they gave the voices importance, blocking out everything but the voices.

When they finally left, she unclenched her fingers and slowly sat up. She was tired and stiff, but it was over for another few days. She had been about to start making breakfast when the voices started, but now she wasn’t hungry. She walked shakily into the kitchen and turned on the kettle. A cup of coffee would do her some good, with lots of sugar and a dash of cream. Despite it being bright and sunny out, Jane felt cold, as she waited for the kettle to boil she tried to stop shivering. When the coffee was made she took a slow, almost tentative sip, warmth flooded through her, hands wrapped around the cup she sat at the kitchen table.

The voices had started about six months back. No one knew the danger then, that’s why it had so many voices now. Even now they didn’t know exactly what it was, but one thing was clear, if you opened your door you’d disappear. Poof. Gone. No signs of struggle, no evidence of any foul play, just an empty house. Before it started Jane had a husband and a son, now though, now she was alone. Their son went first. Jane didn’t know exactly who he heard, but she suspected it was one of his friends who’d recently vanished. At that stage everyone knew something was wrong, but no one was sure what. A few weeks later Tom, her husband, had told her of the voices he was hearing, the voice of their son, of friends and family who had already gone missing. At that point there were rumours, saying those who vanished came to take those who were left. He had held out for a month before he finally opened the door. At the time Jane hadn’t heard the voices, they seemed to choose one person in a house and focus on them. She had thought that Tom was weak, that he was a coward, abandoning her. Now she understood.
The world continued on as people slowly disappeared, people still went to work, out to the shops, went to the pub with friends. Scientists were trying to figure out just what was happening and how, but no one seemed to care, the answer was simple, don’t answer the door. No one knocked anymore, no one called out, they rang or texted someone to let them know they were outside.
Some religious groups claimed it was the rapture, they didn’t make a huge fuss about it, they couldn’t as the groups never seemed to last long as members opened the door one by one.

The voices had been coming to Jane for six weeks now. She held out against the pleading and begging of her husband, son, mother, father, friends. It was endless. Sometimes they screamed in agony and terror, begging to be let in, other times they called out they escaped, others they told her how wonderful it was, how she should join them, how she’d love it as much as they did. She didn’t know what was on the other side of the door, but she knew it wasn’t her family and friends. She knew it wasn’t good, but there was only so much she could take. Sometimes when she listened to them all calling out or seductively whispering she considered ending it all, just taking the gun from the upstairs closet and silencing the voices forever. But she couldn’t do that. She had to remain, she still had faith that they might return to her someday, they might escape.

 

When she had finished the coffee she felt somewhat normal again. Her stomach gave a little grumble, but she couldn’t face food, not yet. She always needed time afterwards for things to settle down. She hated the time afterwards, it was always filled with self-doubt. What if she was wrong? What if it really was them? What if it was better? There was only one way for her to find out, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She fought against it, even when part of her wanted to give in.

 

The voices came again later that night. It wasn’t right, there was supposed to be a gap, a few days of blessed silence. They started up just after nine, whispering so softly, so sweetly that she found herself walking towards the door before she realised she was hearing them. She sat against the door, head against knees. Would it really be that bad? It would be over at least, finally over. She could hear whimpering on the other side of the door, even with the chorus of voices she could still recognise the sound of her son crying. Her stomach twisted, she wanted to go to him, comfort him. She stood slowly and turned to face the door. Her hand reached out and gripped the handle. She took a deep breath and began to turn it. She understood now, it wasn’t weakness opening the door, it wasn’t cowardice, it was bravery.

The door swung inwards, Jane didn’t scream, she closed her eyes and accepted her fate. It didn’t matter, not really, one way or another, she’d be with them again. It was over quickly and silence reigned, sweet, gorgeous silence. There was a faint whisper, then the voices began again.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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