It started with a whisper. When I first heard it I thought I was still dreaming. I tossed my legs over the side of my bed. I walked through my home into the kitchen where Dad was humming while flipping pancakes. I shook my head when the whispers began to multiply in my mind. There were so many now and so incoherent; they seemed to be bouncing off the walls of my skull. The innumerable whispers that echoed through my mind caused me to pause in my steps. I shook my head back and forth, trying to shake out the sounds. My heart thudded rapidly. I felt like I was being choked by invisible fingers. I wrapped my hands around my throat and began to gently squeeze.
“Help!” I whispered. The sounds of whispers resonated through my skull. I balled my hands into a fist and banged them against my ears. The whispers multiplied. My heart raced. My stomach did turns. I felt weak. I could not control the sounds in my mind. I was going insane! I squeezed my eyes shut and reached up to my scalp and began furiously scratching, digging at my scalp.
“No,” my voice trembled.
“Caren!” my mother’s voice cried out. I heard her feet pounding on the tile behind me. I could tell she was running toward me, but I continued in my madness. She grabbed my arms and released my clawing hands from my head. She kept a grip on my biceps. I opened my eyes, the whispers had subsided. I looked down into my fingers. Hair was wrapped around each one and blood and skin pooled beneath my nails. My shoulders sagged. Tears threatened to flow freely, but I took a deep breath and forced them back. I already felt pathetic enough. I looked up at my mom. My dad stood beside her. His arms crossed in front of him and a concerned look formed on both of their faces.
“Caren, you don’t have lice,” said mom, confused.
“What’s going on with you this morning?” asked dad as he wrapped his arms around my head and pulled me into his embrace.
“Why don’t you stay home today?” mom suggested, gently.
“You need to wash your hair,” mom said, thoughtfully. “You should use the baby shampoo on those cuts you’ve made.”
My head was sore, I could feel blood pooling out of the scratches in my scalp. I didn’t move, I felt frozen and confused. I felt ashamed as they spoke at me and not really to me. I pulled my biceps free from my mom’s grip. I stepped backwards, eyeing them suspiciously and I turned away from them. Then as soon as their stares of pity and concern were on my back, I darted down the hallway and into the bathroom. When inside the bathroom, with the door shut behind me, I undressed in a hurry, tossing my clothes angrily at the wall. I allowed tears of anger and frustration to sting my eyeballs and flow freely down my cheeks. What was happening to me? I leaned over the bathtub and turned the knob for the hot water until it was all the way on. I let the water run while I sat outside the tub, my back facing a nearby wall, and quietly cried. What was happening to me? Steam began to fill the room and the water continued to run. The white noise allowed me to relax. I stopped crying and closed my eyes, and as I did I saw a blood covered gray hand rise above the water, tinging my clear bath water pink. I let out a loud gasp and my eyes shot open. Fearfully, I looked into the bath. Aside from water, there was nothing ghoulish or even bloody about it. I turned off the hot water, wiped the steam and tears from my face and stepped slowly into the bathtub. What was happening to me? I leaned back into the steamy water, allowing it to cover my whole body and face. I closed my eyes under the water and drowned out the sounds of my surroundings. The water crept into my scratches, burning them, but I did not move. I felt apathy. I was numb, emotionally. After my bath I decided to hide myself from my parents’ stares of pity and confusion by lying in bed, buried beneath my covers. Then the whispers started up again and I felt my body tremble. This can’t be happening. Why?
“You will be there,” a thought occurred. “Samhill Cemetery in Ravenstown,” the whisper echoed in my mind.
I shook my head back and forth, trying to shake free the eerie whispers. I plugged my ears and shut my eyes in denial that these voices were real. But even in silence and darkness they made themselves known.
“Go and bring a shovel.” said one clear whisper. “My stone is made of marble and comes to a cross at the top. The name on the marker is: Elizabeth Warren. Free me!” The whisper turned into a voice and the silhouette of a woman formed in my mind’s eye. The invisible hands choked me again and stole my voice. I tried to fight my way out of my blanket but I could not move my body. I was paralyzed.
“Free me!” her ghastly voice repeated and she came into full view: a corpse wearing a tattered and dirty wedding dress. Her eyes were still intact and her blueish skin was only just beginning to recede away from her bones. Her hair was matted by dirt and blood to her disfigured head. “I will have revenge,” she sang, eerily, her dried lips forming a creepy smile at the corners. And then she faded from my view and the whispers all stopped at once. I forced open my eyes and pushed my way out of my blanket. I tumbled to the floor with the blanket twisted around my body. I yanked the blanket off of me and tossed it on to my bed.
What’s happening to me?