Voices in your head are usually a bad thing. Take this pill they say. Just swallow and it will all go away they say. What if it doesn’t I ask the nurse politely as she places the pill in my hand. She says nothing shoving a small paper cup filled with water in my face. She is old and unkept. Probably hasn’t washed her mismatched blond curls in weeks. Crooked red lipstick smeared on her yellowing teeth, and week old stains on her uniform. Martha, it says on her fading name tag, shit, she caught me staring. She doesn’t look very happy about this. I look down at my feet, shuffle my shoes and ask What if the voices don’t go away once more as I swallow down the medicine. Still no reply. She gestures with her head to the staff and they drag me away. I don’t protest. I just keep looking at Martha, and waiting for her answer as my feet drag in front of me. She folds her arms and smirks as I disappear down the hallway. Filthy, and unprofessional, that’s what she is. I on the other hand take great care in my appearance. I bathe daily, keep my dark hair neatly combed to the left, and I always keep my nails short.
The two oafs that are dragging me are actually quite polite. The dark haired one is Nathan I believe, and the ginger is, hmm, let’s call him Opie! As I said they are actually polite gentlemen if not very talkative. They don’t call me names or judge me. They just do their jobs silently, and without complaint. My paper cup falls to the floor, but I don’t complain. I had been fiddling with it like a worry stone until I forgot what I was doing and lost my grip. When I arrived in my room I sat quietly waiting for the chittering in my head to cease. The staff looks on as I bat at the air. I just want it to stop, It doesn’t. I stare out the rusty barred window held in by concrete slabs and I remember the first time I heard them calling to me.
I was a boy no older than five when the voices began reaching for me, clawing from the outside traces of my mind, and burrowing deeper into my subconscious every day. I was tossing and turning in my bed yanking my sheets to and fro until I crashed upon my bedroom floor wrapped up like a cocoon made of bedsheets. I awoke with a start from my nightmare, and in the dark my dream was still there! As if projected out from my imagination a million tiny black insects covered every inch of my room, wall to ceiling. They did not seem solid like real bugs. More like black and white static from a television. They crawled and creeped with an electric buzzing that transformed to chittering, and eventually to some sort of insect like language that my tiny mind began to comprehend.
Nathan, nathan, what are you doing Nathan? What, are you Nathan? I didn’t know what I should say in reply. The voices were now so clear that I was now less annoyed, and much more fearful. What do you want I exclaimed. I did not realize I had been so loud. My mother and father burst into the room. They found me on the floor, shook me, and asked if I was alright. I wasn’t, I would never be the same again. By the time I was thirteen I found myself here, in this asylum for what my mother called “special people.” I felt special alright, especially fucked that is. They may have left me behind but I was never alone.
One evening after one of my episodes where I was being particularly rambunctious I found myself in a sweat stained straitjacket, strapped to a table, and the nasty nurse hovering over me applying a cool gel to my temples. As I stared at the yellowing ceiling I began to tune into what I assumed was the electric buzzing from the harsh florescent lights overhead. I could hear the nurse dunked something into water but even that sound was being drowned out by the electric buzz that seemed more rhythmic than usual. She returned pressing something cold and wet against each side of my head, blocking the light, and stared down at my dispassionately. She began tightening the wet contraption, and the pressure it applied to my skull grew tighter and more painful. The oaf Nathan held me down while Opie stretched my mouth wide, shoved a piece of wood between my lips, and forced my jaw to bite down. He then patted my head and said “don’t let go” in a oddly commanding tone. The taste of dirty wood was not very pleasing.
The nurse disappeared into the corner of the room once again where I could hear her twisting and flicking knobs and switches. The buzzing of the lights was now drowned out by a much louder electric hum. Then, in that very moment before the final switch was flicked the chittering grew loud inside my mind. I stared up the heads of the two oafs transformed. From lumbering morns to something more, beautiful. Something more akin to the heads of strange giant moth for a brief moment. They chittered and chirped amongst themselves as their antenna twitched and wiggled. I smiled through the block of wood and drooled a bit. My eyes went wide and a tiny laugh sent spittle flying everywhere. The Martha was not amused, but this didn’t matter. The lights went bright then sizzled and popped, blackout. Opie, Nathan, and Martha scurried about like roaches searching for the breaker. The chittering grew as loud as a million fluttering moths, and I could actually feel their wings brushing against my skin. Then something even stranger happened. The sensation on my skin felt less like fluttering, and more like flying. When Nathan finally flipped the breaker, and the lights came back on the table, was empty. A few small gypsie moths were fluttering out of the a crack in a small window toward the full moon in the clear night sky.
The staff looked dumbfounded. Martha peered out the window and what she saw she could not explain. A gathering of flying insects flying towards the moon, in the formation, in the shape of a man. A voice rang in her head low and whispering. It said take your medicine Martha, and the voices will go away.
Thank you for reading. I like to think of these stories as a first draft of a much larger story. Some day I will revisit these short tales and add a bit more flesh to their bones for your dark delight! I welcome all praise and criticism. Send your roses or venom to @
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