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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, April 13, 2024
The Echo
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‘The Spectre’

Spooky story submission

People take their minds to magical, wondrous places. Mine is quite empty, a seeming void of nothing. I am removed from the present, dwelling separately from people, yet surrounded by them. I know the truth and nothing but. The lies they tell themselves with their fanciful imaginations do not exist in my mind.

I might take to myself the deliberate task of trying to think, as much as I can, that is. Sometimes I will imagine a tree. Its green leaves bristle in the spring wind and frail, white blossoms drift away into the void. And yet, as soon as I become settled in the scene, it breaks apart and decays into nonexistence. I despair.

And on the topic of dreaming, I simply cannot. My wife will tell me about her fantastic dreams where she could fly, and where I flew next to her. For some odd reason, these dreams hold much emotion for her. She will sigh deeply as if longing to return to these dreams. I have not felt such emotions in a long time, so long that I have forgotten how it feels. I despair.

For although I neither dream nor slumber, I have aspirations, desires that I cling to, although it is quite hard to recollect them. I desire to imagine, I desire to think, I desire to fly next to my wife through the crisp fall air as the leaves shiver off the old oaks. And yet, I cannot. It is merely a prayer, a request for God above.

Even so, I doubt God can hear me. For just as I cannot think, I cannot speak. My voice simply echoes through the void of my mind, and its darkness repeats my words back to me. I despair.

Words written on a paper have no competition to the power of a voice. For I can write, as I am doing now, but how I wish to speak! If speaking comes from the imagination, then I assume I will never be able to. I feel I should be thankful, at least, that I am able to write. I am able to look outside and describe what I see, what I feel, because as soon as I turn away, I forget. I cannot hold the images close and recite them to my wife. Sometimes I leave notes for her, but she will read my works and be confused, however, as if she does not understand how I can write when I cannot speak, when I cannot think. I wish to explain, but I cannot. I despair.

Oh, how I so desire to dream. But as time goes on, I realize I cannot imagine my wife. I have not seen her in ages. I am worried that she is frustrated with me and my inability to dream. The one who cared for me, spoke to me, and told me her dreams. I cannot think of her voice! Would it be as sweet as the songbird outside or harmonious as the flute player on the street corner nearby? I have no clue. I cannot know. So I pray. I pray to the Lord that one day I might be able to hear her voice in my void, but my prayers return to me like a misplaced letter. I despair.

And soon, it seems, my despair will catch up to me, as the baker will eventually catch up to the child thief from across the way. For while I sit here on the street corner, passers-by will not even glance at me, as if I am not truly there. And yet, I am, or at least I believe so. I cannot reach out to them, because I cannot speak. I cannot speak, for I cannot think. I cannot think, for I cannot dream. I cannot dream, for I cannot live. And I cannot live, for I despair. I sit here wallowing. I despair. And eventually, so will you.