A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

VOICES





He walked down 40th with a quickened pace, slouched low, avoiding the friendly faces that usually greeted him on the walk home. The sky was dark, save for the blood red remnants of the day's sun. The boiling heat of the summer day was replaced with the dead calm of night. A few people said hello, but he pretended not to hear. He was afraid to talk to them. Afraid of what he might say. He couldn't tell anyone. Not anyone. Only he and Charlie would ever know what he had done.


The buildings knew too. He didn't want to notice, but they just stood there in knowing silence, ready to come down upon him in punishment. He was afraid of everything. He just wanted to get home and speak to Charlie. Charlie would make it O.K. Charlie would fix everything.

As he approached the apartment building, he heard footsteps behind him. He froze. They knew. Everyone knew. Everyone knew and they would be after him. He ran now, for it wouldn't be long. He ran up all 15 flights of stairs and was ready to collapse as he reached the door. He was finally home, though, and he could talk to Charlie and everything would be fine. Charlie was his best friend. Charlie would never lie to him; Charlie would never let him get hurt.

He went in, locked, bolted, and chained the door. Then he sank deep into the only chair in the room. He kept the lights off. Charlie liked the dark best. He had gotten used to it and didn't mind all that much anymore. He spent most of his time talking to Charlie anyway.

As the last rays of the dying sun crept through the slats in the window blinds, he studied the room. The paint was chipped and faded, and the wall had a large water stain from when the pipes burst last winter. A cockroach scurried behind the refrigerator as the last light left the room. This night the sky would remain dark as the moon had reached the end of its cycle and was dead with the sun.

"Why don't I sleep anymore?" he asked Charlie.

"You think too much. You never let your mind rest."

"I did something bad today, at least, I think I did."

"Why do you still go out there, Nathan?"

"I like the people. Well, I like most of the people."

"And therein lies the problem. You don't like them all, and no good ever comes from that."

"But it's not my fault. Usually I just."

"You just think about it. You just imagine, don't you?"

"I'm hungry."

"We're not done talking yet. Do you remember Chicago?"

"A little"

"Oh, I think you remember a lot, a whole lot."

"I didn't know Charlie, I didn't know."

"Whether you knew or not, you're the reason we're hiding out in this crappy apartment and whenever you go outside, you risk getting caught! And now you go and do something else!"

"But Charlie, I didn't know! I couldn't help it!"

"Yes you could! You could have stayed inside like I told you to!"

"But Charlie, it, it's no fun up here."

"Well, it won't be much more fun in jail, will it?!"

"I didn't go to jail before."

"That's because nobody saw you thank God. And the only reason he didn't tell the cops is because he's in a coma!"

"But why did we have to leave, then?"

"There's no way you forgot that. Your "thoughts" got you into more trouble than I ever thought possible."

"The woman?" He asked quietly.

"Yes, Nathan. The woman."

"I don't want to talk about it."

"You never do."

"I just thought."

"I know, Nathan, but that won’t get you anywhere with the cops."

"But I didn't, I don't want to go to jail, Charlie."

"It's not up to me, Nathan."

Sirens echoed through the city, closing in on the apartment.

"Charlie! Charlie what should I do?"

"I told you to stay inside. You didn't listen, and now look what happened. I can't help you anymore."

"But Charlie, I didn't know!"

"That doesn't matter."

The door burst open and light flooded the room.

"Freeze, put your hands where we can see them!" The cop's voice rang through the apartment.

"Charlie, help!"

They cuffed him and took him down to the patrol car.

"Charlie, don't let them! Make it stop!"

"Shut up and get in the car kid" said the cop.

They took him downtown and threw him into a cell.

"Charlie? Are you there?”

"Yes Nathan, I'm here."

"I'm scared."

"You should be" spoke another strange voice.

"No. I don't want to talk to you Sam."

"You don't have a choice."

"Charlie, make him stop."

"No. You brought us here with you."

"Charlie, stop it."

"Talk to Sam for a while. He makes an interesting point."

"You should end it here, Nathan."

"I, I don't like you."

"You don't like a lot of people. Isn't that right?"

"Shut up!"

"You've done bad things. They'll put you in here for life and you'll never leave. You'll never be free."

"That's not true! Charlie?"

"I'm afraid he's right."

"Stop it! I don't want to be here! Make it stop, Charlie!"

"I can't do that, Nathan. Only you can do that."

"I'm scared to."

"Do it" Sam spoke again, "Do it before they hurt you anymore."

"I want my mother."

"You're mother isn't here anymore. You know she can't do anything. Now get this over with."

"Shut up. You're lying."

"Do it already!"

"I'm afraid."

"I know, Nathan. Let's do it quickly. It will all be over soon."

The next morning, an officer headed to Nathan's cell to escort him to the interrogation room.

"Oh my god!"

His cell was cleaned out quickly and silently. And it was the officer that found him who spoke first.

"Why'd he do it?"

"Guilt, most likely; I mean, have you seen the crime scene photos? I wouldn't be able to live with myself either if I had done something like that. He was one sick freak."






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