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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2239447
Weird Tales Contest Entry December 2020 - Winner
It was constant, that sound, low, murmuring, it just wouldn’t stop!

Richard couldn’t remember when it started. It’s been so long, so very long, it seemed to be forever ago.

The murmuring, so soft it was unintelligible, maddening, persistent.

He went to see his doctor. The doctor said it was tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. Richard protested, it wasn’t a ringing, it was whispering. No matter, the medicine didn’t work anyway.

The psychologist’s psychobabble didn’t help either.

The psychiatrist prescribed medication just as useless as her blather.

By then the lack of sleep and continual noise started to affect his judgement.

He went to a hearing specialist only to find there was nothing wrong with his hearing.

A neurologist said his scans looked perfectly normal.

Desperation set in.

The shaman, priest, and exorcist all agreed there was nothing to report.

Wiccans, Celts, and every other pagan expert he could find believed that he was losing his mind.

The muttering continued.

Richard’s family told him he just needed to stop obsessing, when that didn’t work, they left.

His boss fired him.

His friends avoided him.

There was nothing left, nothing left to do.

The bullet pierced his brain, silencing the whispering for…moments, just the merest glitch in time, then it started again. Or, maybe, it never stopped, he just couldn’t’ hear it for that blessed bit of time. Then he could. Only the muttering was getting louder. As he stared down at what was left of him, the lifeless body evoking no emotion, he listened intently. The whispering thing was fast becoming the chattering thing.

Slowly Richard lifted his head. In front of him a conversation was taking place. Talking he could not hear just moments before that now he heard clearly. In the next room he could hear someone singing. Behind him there were several people having an argument. There were people all around him engaged in some sort of discourse.

They were all dead, ghosts, spirits, what have you.

The whispering thing was something he wasn’t supposed to hear. He hadn’t been crazy; he had been alive.
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