I asked my friend to choose a topic for me for today, knowing that she has a copy of this book. She didn’t have it with her, so chose a page number. Page 74.
As it turns out, this book doesn’t have page numbers. Counting pages is fun!
He stands, alone, in a dark room. He hears nothing but the thunder of his own heartbeat, a tortured prisoner beating at the bone bars of its cage. He has his eyes shut, squeezed tight in an effort to block out the images but he can’t. They are burned forever into the forefront of his mind. The warm liquid running across his hands, the thudding of her pulse as her heart forced the blood over his fingers. He still sees the single tear that rolled down his cheek, splashing into her staring eyes as a disconnected voice says ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ It is only now, alone in the darkness with his memories, that he realises the voice was his own.
‘I’m sorry.’ He finds himself repeating the words as the tears flow freely down his cheeks. His hands ball tightly into fists, nails cutting deep enough into his palms to draw blood, blood that mingles with the tears on the floor.
That’s when it starts. The whispers. Low, practically ultrasonic to start, but building. It starts with a single voice. Repeating just one word. ‘Another.’ He clamps his bloody hands to his ears, trying to block it out as he falls to his knees on the cold, laminate flooring. His deep blue eyes snap open, a tortured expression crossing his face as if he is in physical pain. A second voice joins the first. ‘Another.’
‘No.’ He murmurs, the words fighting to stay inside like a dog cowering away from a violent master. His face is a grimace as the words come out, stronger this time. ‘No.’ He fights to his feet, understanding Atlas as he settles the weight of his worries on his shoulders.
A third voice comes along. Then a fourth. On and on until a multitude of voices discordantly harmonise the same word, again and again, forcing his back to bend under the weight, forcing him to his hands and knees, constant pressure until he collapses to the floor, all his energy spent fighting these voices, but they don’t let up. They will never give up. Not until…
Silence. He is back in the dark room, alone but for his heartbeat. He sighs, feels a single tear roll down his cheek, then moves toward the door. He takes his coat from a hook by the door, putting it on slowly as if his bones are made of shattered glass, each movement agonising. A sigh escapes his lips as he finds his keys in his pocket, the cold metal a soothing balm against his hot and broken skin. He wipes away his tears and leaves a room empty but for a pair of bloody hand prints on the floor.
The Idiot in Tin Foil