She Was Always In The Dark
The day she realized that the darkness didn’t disturb her anymore was a very disturbing day.
2. Part 2 of 3
Rating 5/5 Word Count 783 Review this Chapter
"Good evening, Alice." The speaker crackled to life, not detracting from the remarkable beauty of the voice that spoke.
Alice raised her head but did not open her eyes. "Good evening." She was never startled by the voice anymore. She had been waiting to hear it.
There was a slight pause. "Do you remember my name?" the voice asked. Alice didn’t answer. After a moment, it continued. "Alice, my name is Sebastian."
"Sebastian," she repeated dutifully, letting the name drift out of her consciousness as it left her lips. People had names. Voices did not.
"That’s right," the voice encouraged. But it didn’t sound encouraging. It sounded sad.
"Why are you sad?" she asked the voice fearlessly. For a long moment there was no reply.
"Will you tell me why I am sad, Alice?" the voice asked at last.
"Because of the dark-haired man with the red eyes?" she guessed, recalling a familiar vision – the very one she had seen just before the beautiful voice had first spoken to her.
"No," the voice disagreed soothingly. "I have never seen that man." Then there was another moment of silence. "Does that man make you sad?"
"Yes," she replied honestly.
When she didn’t continue, the voice pressed on. "Will you tell me why?"
"He will ruin the beautiful man," she answered quietly. This had made her sad for a very long time. She had never seen the beautiful man in person, but she did not wish him ruined. She shook her head as the sight of his dismembered body floated before her closed eyes again. In the years since the voice had come to her, this vision had recurred many times, always just the same. It no longer disturbed her, but it always made her sad. She wanted to think about something else. The voice seemed to understand.
"Have you seen anything new since we last spoke?" it asked kindly.
"I have seen a man with black and white hair – mostly black," she began without hesitation. "He was sad," she added after a moment of thought. She frowned. If a person could be sad, then it shouldn’t be possible for a voice.
"What made him sad?" the voice asked. There was a slight sharpness to its tone that Alice didn’t often hear. It sounded worried. Perhaps it feared she was talking about the red-eyed man again.
Not wishing to worry her lovely voice, she answered at once. "He is crying. He has cut himself on his arm. Four perfect rows, but they barely bleed. He used the metal bench. He is crying because they took it away."
"Who took his bench away?" the voice inquired, sounding curious. Alice reminded herself that people could be curious but voices were only voices.
"The tall woman with the curly hair and the large woman with the squinty, dark eyes," she replied. "The beautiful man held him to make sure he didn’t try to keep it."
The voice was silent for a very long moment. Alice wondered, eventually, if it had gone away entirely, for now. Then, suddenly, it asked, "Do you know the beautiful man’s name?" It sounded again as if the voice were sad.
"No," she answered. Then a thought occurred to her. "Have I made you sad?" she asked the voice worriedly. Her eyes popped open, but the darkness was complete.
"You could never make me sad, Alice," the voice replied. The kindly tone she knew so well comforted her, and made her feel warm.
"Perhaps I imagined it," she allowed quietly, "They always said I had a good imagination." She frowned suddenly at her own faux pas. She’d promised herself not to think of them anymore. It was usually such an easy promise to keep.
"Who told you so?" the voice asked, still warm. But there was no comfort to be had on this topic.
"They did," she replied, hardly noticing how compelled she was to answer. She would always answer her voice.
"Will you tell me who?" it persisted gently.
"Them." She was referring to the nameless, indistinct faces that swam before her eyes. Her memory had dredged them up without her permission. She pushed them away, and closed her eyes again. She could see no difference. But she squeezed them tightly shut until little points of light burst behind her eyelids and chased the shadows away.
With them went the voice. But Alice was not afraid. The voice always came back. It kept away the other, crueler voices. She could barely remember them. Most importantly, the voice had destroyed the white room. She couldn’t even picture the place anymore, though the words in her mind still made her shudder.
Alice sat patiently in the darkness, safe and content. She sat with her eyes closed and a vague smile on her face, and waited for her beautiful voice.