When you hear voices in the night, don't believe all that they say.
By Stephen Abell
The huskily soft, hardly audible word caressed my ear, as I lay next to my husband, in our dark, new bedroom. To say that the blood in my veins turned to ice would be an understatement. I literally froze. Unable to move my hand and seek out David’s, for solace, I lay in a state of shock and fear, for which I had no discernable reason. It could’ve been the tail-end of a dream; but it wasn’t.
Replaying the few scant seconds in my mind, I grudgingly accepted a sleepless night. Had I actually heard a voice or was it just in my mind? My heart was telling me it was the former and my intuition told me it’d been feminine. I don’t believe in the spirit world, so I clung to the possibility of an intruder. I laid silent and still, on this our first night in our new home, and listened for some strange sound or a voice to cut through the darkness. Somewhere in that unfamiliar inkiness, sleep took me away to brighter dreams.
The sunrays of a cold March morning pierced my eyelids and wrenched me from slumber. David was awake and leaning on one elbow, staring intently at me. A smile radiated from his entire face. I recounted the previous night’s occurrence and David enveloped me in his safe, muscular arms, assuring me it was just a dream.
As the day passed, boxes were opened, and furniture was placed; my mind dulled the previous night into the fog of history. By the time our second night arrived, and our bed beckoned, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was sound asleep a few seconds after my head rested on the sumptuously soft pillow.
“Beware, he will kill you!”
My eyes flickered open and scanned the empty bedroom; my hope of intruders, quashed. Again, I was a statue to the homage of fear crawling, unhindered, through my body. I now had two questions tumbling around my confused mind: Who had spoken and who was he? I forced my head to turn and look at my snoring husband. The tense tendons in my neck creaked with the strain. In the moonlight, I glimpsed his eyes moving rapidly under their lids, as he dreamed. Every now and again, a snarl broke out on his face, tarnishing it with unfamiliarity. Never had I seen such a look of hatred on his handsome features.
I find it amazing that in the dead of night our minds find it easy to think astonishing thoughts, which in the light of day always seem fanciful.
My husband was the “he” of the midnight whisper. I couldn’t believe it; my mind didn’t believe it; however, the fear coursing through every inch of my soul was resolute and irrefutable.
Reaching over to the bedside table, I retrieved my mobile phone. I pushed the button on the side to illuminate the front face and read the time. It was four minutes past midnight. By the neon pink glow, I watched David sleep. His brows creased into deep furrows, his eyes scrunched tight, and the corners of his mouth pulled down, as if in anger. Then all the wrinkles smoothed out and there was the face of the darling man I’d fallen in love with. Seeing such changes was shocking, for he never got angry. We, like all couples and families, had arguments, but it was I that resulted to shouting. David was calm and logical.
Were his lips moving? I leaned in close. He was talking in his sleep. Even with my ear close enough to his mouth, to feel his lips tickle my lobe, I could only distinguish a few words. They were infused with great pain and anger.
Placing the phone back on the table, I settled back to watch my husband, a cold dread nestled within my stomach.
I awoke to gentle and persistent shakes, as David brought me from the depth of some dream I didn’t wish to leave. He bid me a good morning and called me a “sleepy-head” as he poured “fresh coffee” from the cafetiere.
“Did you sleep okay?” I asked him, trying to keep the tension from my voice.
“Yeah, like a baby.” He replied, a big loving smile on his face. “How about you? Did you hear any more voices?”
“No, just the same voice.” The dim light from outside was already chasing away my fears and dread. If asked, could I tell him that when the moon is high, I feared he could kill me? I couldn’t tell him that. It wasn’t the truth, was it? With a quick thought I added, “It could’ve been you, though. You were talking in your sleep.”
“Oh yeah,” he giggled, banishing my ill feelings, “and what was I saying?”
“I don’t know, you were kinda whispering. What I can tell you though is, you sounded angry.”
Taking a sip of coffee, he looked across at me, “Must’ve been a nightmare.” For a fleeting second it looked as though a cloud of uncertainty had dropped over his eyes; then it was gone.
Another day flashed by; unpacking boxes and arranging items. How could two people have acquired so much stuff and junk over such a short time? There were still another five boxes to empty when we wearily called it a day and trudged tiredly up the stairs to the land of nod.
The alarm on my phone pulled me viciously from my sleep at quarter to midnight. This time I would be ready.
Within minutes, I was fighting my eyes, trying to keep them open; knowing that if I let them droop for a second, I’d be lost in dreamland. Then a movement at the periphery of my vision dispersed any and all ideas of sleep. What I saw looked to be smoke; thin and incorporeal. None the less, it held the shape of a person. As I turned my head to view the apparition, a breeze twisted it into nothingness. I began to wonder if I’d really glimpsed anything at all, or if my hope had conjured it up. The mist appeared again, this time directly in my line of sight, and my breath ceased, for there, before me, stood a woman of approximately twenty-five years. And, though she was transparent, I could see how beautiful she was. Her mouth moved and the words I dreaded drifted through the air to find my ears.
“Beware, he will kill you!”
Her head turned towards mine and our eyes met.
That one word threatened to loosen my bowels. I fought hard to keep control.
“Who are you?” I whispered. The ghost made no reply: She just stared at me. “My husband is a good man. He’d never harm me or anyone else, so you have to be wrong.” Stillness and silence were my only reply. I turned my head away from this passed person, “Leave me be. You’re wron…”
The phantasm rushed forward and entered my eyes through swirls of mist. I made out shapes and images behind the grey whirls. Blurred images rushed at me, sharpening in their clarity and colour. The scenes showed the same depiction: A man and a woman. The woman laid dead, an empty carcass on the floor, then on a bed, then a chair, and once in the bath, her body covered in stab wounds and rivers of blood; a few times her throat was slashed. The man, stood wracked with immeasurable pain; he cried and screamed, inconsolable with grief. The killing blade always found its way to his heart and he crumpled to the floor beside the woman. My instinct told me, though the faces were different every time, they were the same two people in every scene. The last installment showed the woman in the arms of another man before the killer burst into the room. I knew in my heart the shame of the woman and realised I was she.
The blood stained killer was David.
We had found each other by chance on a rainy October day. We’d run into the same café to escape the downpour. He’d bumped into me as I’d wrestled to lower my brolly. He bought me a coffee and a cream scone to apologise. We’d swapped telephone numbers and started dating soon after. We both commented it felt like we’d known each other forever. In the next couple of months, we’d moved in together, and were easily finishing each others sentences and thoughts. We were soul-mates; even our friends said so.
The tendrils of mist rose from my vision. I stared into my doppelganger’s eyes and felt my heart break. Something was wrong. I moved a hand, and before I touched David I knew what I’d find. I was alone in the bed. My old self disseminated into the ozone; I was forsaken.
From the kitchen, came sounds of David rummaging in the drawers for a sharp blade. What could I do to end this cycle before its bloody conclusion? First, I needed to arm myself; I didn’t think David’d be in any state to chat when he returned. Rushing to the bathroom, I picked up the glass beaker and emptied out the toothbrushes. Wrapping it in a towel, to muffle the noise, I smashed it against the sink. The jagged base felt good in my hand.
I heard footsteps, but was unable to pinpoint their origin. One downfall of living in new surroundings was getting used to them. As I started for the bedroom, a hand fell heavily on my shoulders and turned me around. I saw a flash of steel in the moonlight. Quickly, I brought up the shattered glass base and rammed it deep into the meat beneath the chin. Startled, he staggered backwards, gurgling in shock. I turned the weapon, ripping wide gashes in his flesh. I felt a warm arterial spray mist my cheeks. I could feel my anger and pain rising.
“You bitch,” I screamed. “How dare you cheat on me with another man?” My hand pistoned uncontrollably, in and out, tearing away meat, muscle, and life. “We were meant to be together, forever, you bitch.”
The man in front of me fell heavily to the floor, a lifeless sack of blood and bones. The soul that I’d always found so beautiful, so many times throughout many ages, had already flown from this madness.
As I stared at the shadow of my beloved husband, realisation poured into my mind, like a dam breaking and letting my past lives drown my brain. I was not the woman I thought I was; far from it. I’d made a deadly and grievous error. I’d hypothesized when we’d been reborn we always assumed the same roles. My doppelganger had lied to me. I was shown all the times that the male had killed his mate, paranoia did the rest. Now in the new light of my actions, I knew the bitter truth. Souls are not restricted to sex. In our past lives, we had been both male & female homosexuals: Other times, I’d been the man while my mate was the female. It was my soul that was the killer. Beside my soulless soul-mate lay a broken glass, its water puddled and mixed with the blood. There was no knife.
I screamed my pain into the air, raping it with my anger. How could my one true love do this to me? Did they not know what pain they put upon me? There was only one way to alleviate the anguish within. I ran the jagged edges of the glass across my wrists until the blood flowed freely. I laid down with my mate and enfolded the once strong arms around me. Swiftly, I slashed my throat and watched the blood arc into the moonlit air of the hallway.
We will be together again; our souls are forever entwined. Next time, it will be different.
Number Of Words: 1993