Work in Progress: The Voices Sing

Excerpt #1

Synopsis: Noah Winters hears voices and they sing. But they also tell him to do bad things. After listening to the voices one terrible night, he is sent to a correctional facility for an indefinite amount of time. While imprisoned, Noah has to find a way to appease his voices. The only way to do this is to listen to music, but music isn’t allowed on the premises. As his condition worsens, Noah takes it upon himself to make his own music with the help of a beautifully tragic and damaged companion. (This is a story in progress. Comments are welcome!)

A photo by Christian Bardenhorst.

The sharp collision of metal on metal penetrates my eardrums. The guard next to me mumbles under his breath as he flips through the silver and bronze keys that hang from his weathered leather belt. His breath smells of stale coffee and nicotine. Pockmarks and craters mar his pudgy face, sweat rings stain his armpits and back.

I roll my eyes as he passes the correct key several times. Even so, I wait somewhat patiently as the guard – a voice in the back of my mind tells me his name is Frank or something like that – surveys his key ring one final time before finally choosing the right key and inserting it into the scoured lock of the heavy metal door. Another guard posted inside a small office to the side of the entry nods to Frank and glares at me with wary eyes. I gaze back without blinking, forcing the man to lower his eyes in defeat.

My wrists ache as the steel cuffs restraining my hands chafe my skin. I look down and study the chains around my ankles. A deep sigh escapes my throat. I’m sure I’m the only one within this godforsaken place who has to be escorted with chains around my ankles. It’s not like I’ve ever tried to run. Truthfully, attempting to do so seemed like too much work. Every single night there are guards posted outside my door, walking the long stretch of halls, constantly surveying the outside perimeter through their high tech monitors and bored eyes. Trying to formulate a plan would be just as much a pain as executing it.

Frank waddles over to me and places a firm hand on my arm, leading me away from the frightened sentry and the locked exit. I throw a glance over my shoulder to eye the door one last time as we head down the misty grey hall. The temptation to leave is still there, but I know there’s no point in longing for freedom. It’s not as if I have somewhere to go and someone to turn to.

I turn my attention away from the gated door and focus on the walls. Deep grooves, long jagged scratches smeared with faded blood, are etched along one wall. On the other are small pits encrusted in crumbling plaster, filled with cobwebs and inky blackness. I spot the knuckle-sized crater I had formed on my first day. A tingling sensation prickles across my fingers as the memory comes to mind.

They had dragged me down the hall. My hands were bound behind my back with steel cuffs and my legs frantically scrambled beneath me as they hauled me down into the depths of The Ward. I broke free momentarily, only to slam my fist into the wall, leaving a deep crater, a constant reminder of the pain I had felt upon being sentenced to this place for life. I had broken all the bones in my hand.

Though I haven’t posed much of a threat since then, the guards still place these shackles on my hands and feet, constantly afraid that I might relapse. I don’t blame them, though. The patients within this hospital have the potential to do very bad things. We’ve done it once and we can do it again. I’m no exception.



2 thoughts on “Work in Progress: The Voices Sing

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