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The Voices

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Every school has that one weird kid that no one really talks to or associates with. The weird kid in my school was a boy by the name of Charles Williams. Only teachers called him that though, he was mostly known as Charlie, and in a few cases Char Char and Charmander, but I'll explain that later. Charlie was a weird boy. He was pale white, like he never really saw the sun and had a few freckles sprinkled across his face. He had bright orange hair and green eyes. He almost always wore this tattered, dirty and slightly chard looking yellow rain coat, excluding the days the Texas weather was too hot to wear it in. He had these big black steal toed boots. He always wore these back wool finger-less gloves, and when ever they were gone for whatever reason (He'd claim Goblin's hid them), his hands would be bandaged. He had a long scarf, and I mean long it wrapped loosely around his shoulders twice and once around his neck, covering his mouth like a muffler, the lowest part being down to his chest and still dragged three feet on the ground behind him, it was black and tattered. He also had glasses that seemed to have been broken many times as they never fit right around his face, always lopsided.

I feel I should mention at this point I only knew him from the ages of four to ten. He kept up most of these habits until he left. The only one changing was he got a new rain coat when he was eight and began wearing it less often, sometimes leaving it at home in pouring rain. And I should also mention only the mentioned articles of clothing were ever tattered, all his other clothes were nice, clean and hell, any time his pants got holes in them his parents would get him new ones and he'd never wear them again. (I remember once he skinned his knee pretty badly, it needed to be wrapped in gauze it was so bad, and was more upset that he knew his pants would get tossed then about the blood oozing from the wound.)

It's obvious that he wasn't pretty popular, hell if that's not the understatement of the fucking century, and everyone mocked him, viciously. He had several rude nick-names, "Twitchy" based on the fact he got nervous when talking to more than two people at a time, and it showed because he fidgeted, a lot. "Coo-Coo Charlie" is pretty self explanatory and as is "Chard-Up Charlie", the list goes on and on. My favorite to use was "Coo-Coo Charlie", though I never said anything to his face, just to the group of three 'friends' I had, who I found out later were just blurting my secrets to the whole school. Either way, my parents heard me and the three other girls talking about 'Coo-Coo Charlie' and scolded me for hours about how it was rude and wrong to call him that and told me to invite him over and apologize to him. Charlie had been in the same town as me since we were born, by the way, this event, the one where we started speaking to each other occurred when we were four.

I feel I should mention a few of the odd things he did and said now, because it wasn't just his weird looks that made people make fun of Charlie. First thing he did is he would always tune the TV to static when ever he could and he'd watch it for hours, and talk to it. Like he was talking to another person, and he didn't speak like a child. He was too calm, too lucid. Another thing is when it was recess in school, he'd always hide under the shade of a big oak tree by the play ground and read, but he wouldn't read right. He held the books up side down, turning the pages from left to right instead of right to left, since the book was up side down. I asked him why he did this once, and he said the world he lived in was up-side-down. Well, not exactly. What he said to me was "You live in a world that is up-side-down to me, and I live in a world that is up-side-down to you. Either way, this book is right side up now, and you're up-side-down." It was weird. And whenever he watched normal TV, and not static, he'd lay on anything he could so he'd flip up-side-down. He'd lay on beds with his head hanging off, sit up-side-down in chairs or couches and in a few cases where he went over to my grandma's before she died he'd lay on his back and watch it. Right though, back to inviting him over.

When I went to school the next day I went up to him and in the rudest, most uninviting tone I could muster asked "Do you want to come to my house today?" To which he agreed. School went by quickly and I found myself standing next to Charlie as he called his parents to tell them that "I'm going to a friend's house, I'll be late" over the school phone and walked him out to wait for my mom to come get us. Once in the car my mom made me apologize, which I did and he easily forgave me, saying he was used to it. The second we were at my home my mom quickly ushered me and Charlie into my room, saying she would make some snacks for us, and told us, mostly me to "Play nice". Before I could say anything Charlie turned on my TV and tuned it to static. We sat in silence for thirty minutes watching static before I tried starting up a conversation to which he quickly shushed me. I just stared at him until I slapped him. Right across the face. Hard. I wasn't sure why I did it, when I was small I was never violent, but I was really mad, and I didn't feel guilty. Not even when he looked up at me, green eyes filled with tears as he rubbed his red cheek and asked me "Why did you do that?" I knew he was faking tears, though I'm not sure how. I just pointed to the TV and say "They told me to." Then he stopped faking, his eyes wide and he said "You can hear that too?"

After that Charlie and I hung out more often, though I wouldn't say we were friends. Not yet anyway. Two weeks after that I got a call from Charlie where he said he and the voice "Gave their condolences for my Grand Mother", and me being four didn't know what that meant, so I asked him. He told me it meant sorry, and I asked him why they were sorry, then he paused. When he finally spoke again he let out a childish curse like "crud" or something and then asked "I'm early, aren't I?" I told him he was dumb while laughing and hung up. Before the hour was up we got a call from my grandma, saying she'd fallen and broken her hip. She went to the hospital and had a stroke while there, she died within the week. I was torn the hell up after that, so was my mom and my dad and my brothers, we all were. My parents took me and my brothers out of school for two weeks for grieving. The first day I was back I confronted Charlie during recess saying he and his voices had cursed my grandma, I screamed at him and threatened him, successfully drawing a crowd of kids chanting 'fight! fight! fight!' and he just sat there and let me until I started crying, then the only thing he did was hug me, which made the crowd disperse with a lot of "aww no fight" as well as "gross they're dating". For the rest of the time he just comforted me. It was after this when we were considerably 'friends'.

I say "considerably" because I was still a rude little bitch to him. I would say mean things and punch him a few times, though only in the arm. (Hell, I'd even come up with mean things to say when we weren't near each other, not that I ever got the chance to use them, they never fit.) But only during those times we would talk with TV static in the back ground, and every rude gesture and comment were blamed on the voices, and he would always accept it as fact is if he heard it telling me to punch him himself. I was not the only one guilty of blaming these 'voices' though. Don't get me wrong, Charlie was a good kid but sometimes...Well he'd do these things that seemed just so out of character for him and he would start sobbing saying "They made me do it! The voices made me!" Like this one time we were doing homework over at his house with static in the back ground like normal and he took the art project I was working on right out of my hands and threw it into the lit and crackling fire place and I started bawling, and he hugged me and he was crying too, apologizing over and over again, saying the voices made him and begged me to forgive him. One time he cut off the tail of his neighbor's cat saying the voices made him do it, which got him grounded from everything except the TV, or maybe he was grounded from that too but watched it anyway, either way he kept acting out and kept blaming it on the voices. I guess I was his only friend and he might have been ticked he couldn't see me or something, but he kept acting out until his parents gave in and let us start hanging out again.

After a while of hanging out my parents kept pressuring me to get his birth date, but he would never tell me. He told me to figure it out myself, his parents wouldn't tell me and neither would the teacher, and none of the other students had a clue, and by the way at this point they had started mocking me too, calling me "Coo-Coo's Wife", which I honestly couldn't care less about. But I could never get it so instead when my parents one last time (in the car with the radio tuned to static as they tried to find a song they liked) I made something up. August seventeenth I told them. By the way, since Charlie never told me his birthday, I never told him mine, he guessed it. Well, he said the voices told him. When my birthday came around, the thirtieth of March, he had got his parents to get me a pikachu plushie, I had been getting into pokemon at the time so I loved it. But when August fifteenth rolled around we went to the shop to pick out Charlie's gift. It was one of those toy TV's that made noise when you push a button and have a light flash behind a fake screen. I went over to his house on the seventeenth and gave it to him, telling him, jokingly, it was "The voices, to go". He asked me how I knew it was his birthday, and I had no clue. After a moment of me not producing an answer he smirked. "They told you, didn't they? The voices?"

Over the years we got closer, and I gave him the nick names of "Char Char" and "Charmander", as I said because I was into pokemon. On his eighth birthday I had gotten him the new rain coat, and he had stopped wearing it as often and he said it was cos he didn't want to ruin it. Now, here's something about me, when I was little I had an awful sleeping schedule, I'd just crash whenever I was tired. (Admittedly I still do this) And sometimes my parents didn't even know I had fallen asleep. A lot of times when Charlie came over (as he came over every day, even if one of us had been sick from school, and if he didn't come over to my house I went over to his) I would still be asleep, since my parents knew he knew his way to my room, they wouldn't lead him back, they'd just say "She's back in her room, go on back there if you want" then usually comment on how messy my room was. When I was asleep he'd tune the TV to static and per the usual and if that didn't wake me he would start drawing hearts on my wrists with a washable marker. (I did this to him when ever he spent the night and went to sleep before me, and he'd do it if I went to sleep before him. I forgot how it got started, but it was normal.) Sometimes I would have woken up and he would already be gone, and I'd known he visited because there would be three things that made it obvious. The TV was tuned to static, I had hearts all over my wrists and there would be a note on my pillow saying it was getting late and he had to get going, and if I'm asleep next time he'd punch me or something to that extent.

Now, I stated that I only knew Charlie until I was ten. This is because I never really saw him again. I should explain. One day he missed school and didn't come over to my house, so after an hour of waiting I went to his. I walked, mind you. I was ten and the street I lived was covered in pedophiles, but his house wasn't too far. When I got there no one had answered. I wasn't happy, obviously. He didn't visit me until after I had gone to bed. Charlie had of course known where the hidden key to my house was and he used it. I woke up to him drawing hearts on my wrists, which was relatively normal, but the TV wasn't on. I asked him why he wasn't in school and why he didn't visit me sooner and he said he was sorry, and that he had to go, had to leave and we wouldn't see each other again for a long time if ever. Then he kissed me. On the lips. Just a quick little peck on the lips like kids do sometimes, but it was still embarrassing, after all it had been my first kiss to a non-family member, but still, I tried to play it off as a joke. "What? Did the voices tell you to do that?" I let out a short, nervous laughter. "No. I told myself to." He said, looking me in the eyes. He said he had to go again, and honestly I started crying, and he held my until I calmed down, until I had fallen asleep. I woke up the next day and he was gone, and three things told me his visit was not a dream. One, the TV was tuned to static. Two, my wrists were covered in hearts. And three, there was a note left on my pillow. It read "I'll see you again. -Charlie". My parents told me something had happened to Charlie's parents, and that he was going to a hospital, and that I would NEVER see him again. They were very vague on details, but stressed I would never see him again.

This all happened seven years ago, and honestly I had started to forget all about it until I heard something on the radio with my mom as she was driving me to school. Something about a lunatic who escaped from a near by asylum, though I never head his name as she shut it off and took me right back home saying that it looked like my cramps (an excuse I had tried to use to get out of going to school that day) actually HAD been bad enough for me to stay home and sent me back to bed with some ibuprofen and a heating pad. I remember thinking of Charlie for the first time in a long time and thinking "An asylum is a hospital." The thought made me laugh as I drifted off. I woke up and wondered if I had kicked the TV that was about two feet from where I sleep, as it was on, and tuned to static. I shut it off and went to look for something to eat. I would have thought nothing of it if it happened the one time. But it happened every night for a week. Then, I started waking up with hearts drawn all over my wrists a long with the static. Today was different though. Just a bit. The static and hearts were the same, but today I found a note on my pillow when I woke up. It read "I'll see you soon. -Charlie".

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