He blinked a couple of times, adjusting to the painfully bright sunlight. His ears filled with the bright chirping of birdsong. The happy shouts of children pierced the air. As his eyes became accustomed to the glaring sunlight, he saw the green, leafy park that he knew so well. In the distance he could just hear the dull roar of traffic, undermining the playful sounds of nature, impinging on the little slice of paradise in which he stood.
He was standing on top of a small hill which overlooked the park. In front of him was a large, flat, green sea of grass, bordered by trees. Two such trees formed goalposts for an impromptu game of football. The players dotted the ocean like dingies in a race. Over to the right and slightly closer to him was a small play area, with slides and swings and a climbing frame over which a few small children swarmed. A short distance away, their cautious mothers sat on a picnic table and chatted, keeping a wary eye on their oblivious offspring.
It was a scene he was used to. He had lost count of the number of hours he had sat on the very grass he now stood on and relaxed, at peace with the little patch of forced nature, a frozen point in time, surrounded by a city which was always rushing headlong into the future. He looked to his right, expecting to see Emily standing beside him, beaming at the joy of those playful children. He felt a pang of sadness and snapped out of his nostalgic wonderings into better memories.
“So is this why you’ve bought me here? To remind me of the time we spent together? I don’t need any reminder.” He addressed the air, but he knew the voice was there. He didn’t think he could get away from the voice.
The thunderous laughter drowned out all the other sounds. “Don’t you think I know you better than that? I brought you here to show you something.”
“And what’s that?”
“Turn around and find out. I can’t tell you what you need to know, I can only bring you to places to show you.”
He turned around. The top of the hill was better covered with trees and provided ample shade on days such as this. Beneath each of the large trees, squatting in the dark shadow cast by the leaves of the tree, people sat. Sometimes in groups of three or four, chatting and laughing. Sometimes couple, lying down together, faces so close they could almost touch, smiles so broad that faces split in half. Sometimes just one person, lounging on the blanket of grass, resting their back against the tree, maybe listening to music, or simply watching, eyes barely open, as the birds sang them to sleep.
It looked like a scene he was used to seeing, except for one glaring anomaly that stood out to him, despite the fact that it was ignored by all the happy people. He was not sure whether he noticed it because it was so different from everything else, or because it was what the voice inside his head wanted him to see. Under one of the trees, not far away, someone was not revelling in the glory of the summer’s day, but rather sat, head in hands, shaking with heavy sobs.
Without thinking he moved over to her; the long, familiar golden brown hair and the delicate hands with painted nails told him the sobbing creature was female. He did not need to see her radiantly beautiful face with her bright green eyes glistening like jewels to know who it was.
“Emily?” His voice quivered, close to breaking down and sharing her tears.
“She can’t hear you” the voice was softer now, yet it still filled him mind, tormenting him.
“They why show me this?” he could not summon the emotion to shout, all he had was being poured into sympathy for the woman he knew, that deep down, he still loved from the bottom of his heart. Regret and guilt subdued his voice to a tired, dejected mumble. “I know she’s upset, why are you showing me this?”
“Look closer.” There was sympathy in the voice now. He wasn’t sure how genuine it was.
He got down on his haunches as looked more closely at her. He dared not touch her. His voice had done nothing, he was not expecting his touch to do anything more. He looked at her slender arms; they seemed paler now, lacking the natural tan that comes to one who loved nature as she did. Despite the summer’s sunshine, she was ghostly pale. Her anaemic complexion was not the only thing amiss. As he examined her arms, he saw the ends of pink scars, standing out like throbbing veins as they curved around her forearm. He gasped and as he did he inhaled the thick cloud of alcohol that hung like a pall around her.
Tear ran down his cheek and he fell forward, catching himself on his hands. He rocked back and forward. Sobbing for pain he’s caused. He could hear the distant laughter of the voice inside his head.
The scene faded and his room returned to him, the shafts of light still penetrated the sides of his curtains and the voice still cackled maniacally inside his head, sharper now, almost painful. Warm tears flowed from his eyes and rolled down the side of his head.
“So what was the point of that? Why are you putting me through this?” he spoke through strangled tears, trying to remain strong in the face of his tormenter.
“For weeks now you’ve been running from what you did. It’s time you stopped running and face the consequences of your actions on other people.” The voice was calmer now, there was no sign of the sadistic pleasure it had taken not a few seconds ago from his suffering.
“How do I even know that what you showed me was true?” there was silence, but for some reason, as he drifted off again against his will, he was sure the voice was smiling.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
The Voice part 2
Remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote this? Well that was part one of 4 (or maybe 5, I don't know yet). Here's part 2.