The voices began calling me at night. Now it seems impossible that there was ever a time without them, so perhaps I should say that I remembered them one night. At first I thought they were a dream, but I heard them the next night and the night after that. By that point I could no longer sleep, so there was no question of their being a dream. I searched everywhere for their source: a radio, a loud neighbour–for a time it helped to think there was a reasonable explanation.
What did they sound like? Like a memory. Like a voice from far off just before you fall asleep that jolts you awake. They were louder when I faced south. I tried to ignore this.
After the third night I heard them during the day as well. Somehow they were easier to ignore when they belonged to that in between, pseudo-world of night. Once I began to hear them during the day they truly caused me distress. I tried drowning them out with music and loud conversation. This worked for a time, but all the while I knew that the voices were still there, and that as soon as the sounds died down I would hear them again. I once made the mistake of telling a friend. ‘Crazy’, ‘insane’, ‘weirdo’–he didn’t understand.
What did they want? They wanted me. I tried to reason with them and tell them that I couldn’t come, that I had a life, to bother someone else. They didn’t understand reason.
At night I tried to sleep by putting cotton balls in my ears and leaving the television on. But they were louder at night, and I could hear them, far away, no matter what I did. I began to walk the town aimlessly instead of lying awake.
Where were they coming from? Our town is bordered to the south by a forest. It terrified me and I hadn’t been inside since I was young.
Every moment was filled with unrest, everything I did felt like a distraction. Nothing satisfied me, nothing was fulfilling. Every moment was a moment spent ignoring the fact that voices were calling me and that I knew they would never stop.
One night, I awoke from my dazed wandering to realize that I had come to the edge of the forest. It was dark, unknown, full. I had always known it would end here. The voices were incredibly loud now and perfectly clear.
Finally, thankfully, peacefully, I went in.