Voices

Good day, my blogging friends.

I have a new flash fiction story to share. It’s been a couple of weeks in the making, which is a little odd for me. But the premise behind the project presented a challenge. Writers took a bigger word and build smaller words out of it. Kind of like Boggle.

Here’s what resulted from my attempt. Hope you enjoy.

Prompt: UNLIMITED

I am tired of my mind playing tricks on me. I want my thoughts to stop traveling a mile a second. I reached my limit. I need to see a therapist. Not any ordinary therapist. The best therapist. And Dr. Travis Shannon is, from what I hear, the best in the field.

I am surprised I got an appointment the same day. The receptionist said someone cancelled on him an hour before I called. It’s cutting pretty close to my shift at the DMV, but I need to get this resolved.

The waiting room is about the size of my apartment’s living room. The receptionist is a pretty lady. Probably in her late 20’s. She hands me a questionnaire and I fly right through it. Why bother? I know I’m not well, but don’t know why. I don’t know why I’m hearing voices. And it’s not just a few here and there; it’s a cornucopia of foreign tongues. The last episode I had was three days ago. Brielle and I were on a date. When the voices came, I cradled into a frantic ball, screaming like a banshee. She bolted on me, but not before she gave me Dr. Shannon’s card.

I can feel the queasiness bubble in my stomach. My head vibrates as if my cell phone was fused into my skull. My eyes dart around the room, watching patients read magazines, scroll on their phones, and wrangle their children. It’s nothing but nervousness. I can’t stand being in a medical institution. I hate being told I’m not in the best shape. I know about the ankle that never completely healed. I know I don’t stick to a balanced diet. I know I look like I can devour a buffet on my own.

“Bobby Blake?”

Dr. Shannon extended his hand as I removed myself from the chair. He escorted me to his office, a rather lavish room with a view of the knotty highway system. Little clay projects lined up on his mantle, as well as a portrait of him and his son on a camping trip. We made ourselves comfortable. At least, I tried. Dr. Shannon sat behind his desk, flipping through the questionnaire. He looked to be in his late fifties. His complexion was that of a redwood. He had the frame, too, but with a pouch that stretches his dress shirt out a little. I can tell he keeps his silver mustache smooth and clean.

“So, Bobby. You say you’re hearing voices.”

I respond so as to keep it within his walls.

“How many are there?” he asks as he writes on his pad.

“I’m not sure. Sometimes there are too many to count.”

“Hmm. Can you understand what they’re saying?”

“No. It’s like they’re speaking a different language when they speak at once.”

We go on like this for about half an hour. I shake myself to keep awake. As the responses come, I feel a twitch in my eye. It travels up to my forehead. And then, the whispers start. One after another after another. I cradle my head as if I could pull my hair out.

“Bobby? Bobby, can you hear me?”

The voices drown out whatever it is Dr. Shannon is saying. Suddenly, I feel a pair of grisly hands on my shoulders. I look up and he locks his eyes onto mine.

“Bobby. I need you to focus on me right now. Can you do that?”

I squeeze my eyes and breathe through my teeth. I glanced up at him. I felt my body start to swell.

“It’s okay. You’re okay. Bobby, can you focus on any particular voice?”

I stare at him as I slow my breathing. Then I nod. The voices meld and unite into one.

“I hear a girl. She sounds like she’s screaming.”

“Okay.” Dr. Shannon nods. “Can you picture her? What does she look like?”

I close my eyes and piece the image together.

“She’s wearing a green dress. And she’s carrying a baby doll.”

I spout out everything about this child.

“And she’s in a house and it’s on fire. She’s screaming and screaming. She says she scared. ‘Somebody help me.’.”

I feel his hands stroke my arms as his words ease my mind. Then, I feel a tear ooze out the corner of my eye.

“What’s happened?”

“The house. The girl. They’re gone.”

I open my eyes and the doctor’s face is before me. I glance up at the office. Everything is where it’s supposed to be. He picks me up and I still look around as if I’m still in that space, shocked that the house collapsed with the girl inside. I wipe my forehead. It’s the first time the voices became more than voices.

“Well, doctor?”

“Obviously, there’s some kind of trauma involved. Something you’ve buried and is now coming to light.”

Inside, I’m huffing. I thought he was the best in the field. But he continues.

“I want to know more about the other voices. What do they say? Are they connected to the trauma in some form?”

He sits at his desk and fills out a card. “I want to see you in a couple of weeks. We’ll go into more detail about the others.”

“Thank you.”

We shake hands and I leave his office for the first time with more questions. A moment of uncertainty. And yet, there is satisfaction in knowing the unknown.

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