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

‘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.