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The Voices of the Walls

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I will never forget my first semester at college. Not because it was overly exciting or easy or filled with crazy partying, but by how simple it had gone for me. I had passed all four of my classes with flying colors. I had made a few friends, and even been to a nice party or two.

I stayed away from the frat parties. Drinking and drugs and random sex were never my thing, and I had a steady girl friend at the time, and enough cheap vodka and whiskey to settle down every night for a nice drink, but never enough to become black out drunk. It was always just enough to calm down, and relax a bit.

Take the edge off as it were. That is what probably lead to my downfall, but I am getting ahead of myself. The next semester was worse, but not terrible. I flunked one class completely, but did pretty well in the others, considering I was terrible with online courses and had a professor who probably should have learned English before attempting to teach a room full of students about the literary styles and working of the Bible. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a religious freak or anything, I just thought the class would be interesting.

But I digress. I tend to do that, so just bear with me as best as you can if I run off on tangents. The next semester, I decided to move into the dorms to save on cash, and bought an unlimited meal plan at the cafeteria, thinking I was going to be working out quite a bit and would need the extra calories. I moved in before my roommate, which was nice because I get to pick where all of my stuff went.

The room was exceptionally bare. It was literally just four walls, with a large closet on the east wall, a double-sided desk built onto the south wall and a window on the west facing the rest of the campus.

All of the walls were all made of solid concrete blocks, no doubt filled with mortar and cement, and painted an off white color, though the paint could have also been faded. I don't know how white paint could fade, but it was the only way I could describe the color of the wall. It just looked... off. Anyway, the building was old, had something thirteen floors but who really knows or cares. I had brought a long a few posters from my old room, but left them in a box after I first moved in.

I figured I should at least check with my roommate before putting them up. We both had lofts, so that made storage easier. I fit my small fridge under my loft and had my parents help me assemble the futon and put it under my loft as well. I set up my massive computer on my side of the desk, along with my TV above that on the small shelf, and occupied the rest of it with my Nintendo Wii, collection of games, Gameboys and my Nintendo DS. I didn’t sleep that night.

Not out of being homesick, but out of being excited. I had never been truly on my own before, so it was really thrilling. I order at a pizza at 1:30 in the morning, just because I could, and spent the whole night watching late night TV shows and movies, all while racing through the first 5 gyms in my Pokémon Red Version, just for old times sake. I stayed awake the next day, and helped my roommate move in and we both crashed at about 3 in the morning after playing some video games.

The first week went by and apart from the kids in room 306 on my floor getting in trouble for accidentally starting a fire with their fan; it was a pretty normal week at college. I got along with my roommate okay, but for whatever reason, he moved out and in with a buddy of his into a different room. I was okay with this, because it allowed my girl friend to come over more often and we enjoyed our privacy.

Not because we were having sex or anything, but we’re the kind of couple who could just sit with each other’s for hours, talking and enjoying each other’s company. Anyway, as the weeks went on, I began to hear things, mostly at night. I was not drinking at this point, but my sleeping pills weren’t working either. I had a slight case of insomnia and had been taking a low dose prescription medication to help me get to sleep. Even after my doctor had doubled the dosage however, I could not get to sleep for the life of me some nights.

My parents thought I was just stressed or needed to stop playing video games, but I was not doing anything wrong in the first place. I would just lay in my bed and toss and turn and finally greet the sun in the morning. The weirdest part was that I was never tired the next day.

As the semester wore on, I started using this sleeplessness for schoolwork, turning it into an advantage instead of a curse. It was great. I had more free time than I sometimes needed, allowing me to hang out with friends, work on my stories, log tons of hours into games like Minecraft or Pokémon, and still stay on top of my schoolwork.

All of this changed when my girl friend came to spend the night for the first time. She had planned a mini vacation with her friend who was on campus, but when her friend suddenly became sick, she decided to spend the night in my dorm instead of driving back home for the weekend.

We went to bed at about midnight, and I actually fell asleep, probably for the first time in a week or so. Wait, I am getting ahead of myself. I should note that I was almost taking these kinds of power naps.

That is, I would occasionally lie down for no more than thirty minutes, and be fully recharged for the day. I also was not consuming huge amounts of caffeine or anything, so this was just pure, natural energy I was running off of. Anyway we were both sound asleep when suddenly, my girlfriend woke me up. She was sitting bolt upright in bed. I rubbed my eyes and saw it was about three in the morning.

I tried to ask her what was wrong but she just shushed me, and looked around the room. She then got up, flicked on the light and started to get dressed. When I asked her what she was doing, she refused to answer. I finally jumped out of bed and grabbed her.

“What’s wrong? Hey, where are you going?”

“I can't stay here,” is all she would say, almost crying. After I calmed her down a bit, she explained that she was not comfortable being in my room like that. She was always the modest type, so I just wrote it off as some moral thing. Either way, she left soon after and I went back to sleep. That was the last time I went to sleep in that place.

The next day, I tried calling her, but she never responded. It was two weeks before she called back. She said she had a bad nightmare, and that the room just gave her a bad vibe. I asked if I could come down and spend a weekend at her house, but she declined, saying her parents would not like it, even though I had lived there for several months the year before, while my parents were in the process of getting divorced.

It unnerved me, because she started visiting me less and less, and never wanted to be in the room with me. After about a month, my car threw a rod, and my parents junked it, as it was too expensive of a repair for them to cover. I had to quit my job, because the buses in the area went nowhere near my work, leaving me alone in the room most of the time. It was about the time the last of my savings dwindled out when I first heard them.

They were quiet at first, barely audible. The only time I could hear them was when my room was dead quiet in the middle of the night, and even the tiniest sound drowned them out. They were voices. Voices of people, and they were all talking and whispering at once. I thought it was maybe just my neighbors at first, but I would catch names or phrases that were unfamiliar to me. I fixed the problem by playing music or having a fan running nonstop, but things only got worst from there on.

At this point, my girl friend had broke up with me, saying she couldn’t handle the distance. My parents were always busy with the courts or my little siblings, and after a particularly intense phone call with them about my slowly dwindling medication supplies (which they were refusing to help me restock, believing I was becoming an addict or something) I had broken my phone in a fit of rage. I had thrown it at my bed, but the damn thing had bounced off of it and hit the wall, snapping it in two.

Unable to reach them efficiently or get them to help buy me a new one, I was officially stuck in my room. I had no job, no income, my only companion had left me and my classes were going worse and worse. I could not focus on my schoolwork. I was sleeping less and less, and eating only on rare occasions. Even my games were not able to keep me entertained or occupied for more than a few minutes it seemed.

And the voices were now getting louder. Soon, my fan and music was not enough to drown them out. They were becoming clearer, and more distinct. They were not saying anything logical though. Their conversations, if that is what they were having, were about all kinds of things and never matched up. One would talk about one thing, and then another would say something as if responding, but about something almost the exact opposite. Classes, drama, daily life, past events, sexual encounters, parties… The list was endless.

I had stopped going to class at this point. I could not get out of bed most mornings from the sheer exhaustion and lack of sleep, except to go the bathroom and occasionally leave to shower and brush my teeth. The voices were almost nonstop at this point, jabbering on and on about things like the Watergate Scandal, the March on Washington, Bill Clinton’s election, Black Tuesday, the D-Day invasion.

The voices were becoming defined now. As if they were starting to separate from one another. I found if I talked out loud or sang to myself, I could block them out, but the moment I stopped, they would pick right back up where they left off. They would talk nonstop. Telling me about the most random and peculiar things, but not because they wanted to talk to me, but as if someone else was there listening who only they could hear. On one particular night, I finally screamed out into the night.

“Shut up! Just shut up already! Leave me alone! God fucking damn it! What do you want from me? Just leave me alone!” And the voices stopped all at once. I sat up, looking around the blank room. No one was on my floor, because it was Thanksgiving break and everyone had gone home, so there was nobody else who could have heard me or really been there to hear through the walls, which I had determined was where the sounds was coming from. Then it happened.

My posters were ripped from the walls. My desktop computer flung itself off of the desk and into the opposite wall. My TV screen shattered and my game cases opened wide, expelling the games, which exploded in mid air. I sat dumb struck as the sound of a howling wind filled the room. I screamed out again.

“What do you want? Just leave me alone! I will do anything just leave me alone!”

“Anything?” the voices responded in unison above the howling wind.

“Yes, just leave me alone! Just let me fucking sleep!” I was crying now, gripping my pillow to and hunching over, praying for the first time in years for someone, anyone, to come and save me. Suddenly, it went quiet. The wind stopped and my possessions stopped flying around the room.

The sun came up and I went downstairs to the cafeteria, shaking a bit and tears running down my face. No one from my building seemed to notice me as I ate half a piece of toast and then returned to my room. I stayed there for days, unable to leave, but unable to do anything but bask in the silence.

I could not sleep that night, so I took out my bottle of vodka and downed the whole thing, but I couldn’t even black out. In a drunken stupor, I wandered around my room. Daring the voices to try and scare me again, challenging them to come out and talk to me.

After I sobered up over the next day, I tried to do what homework and studying I could, but I could not for the life of me see the point. I began to talk out loud about it, ranting about the pointlessness of it all. The break came to an end, and when the CA tried to come in a talk to me about how my break was, I acted like no one was home. Afraid they might come back; I shoved my futon in front of the door, and lay down on bed, staring at the ceiling.

The voices returned that night, now louder than ever. But instead of talking about past events or what I assumed were their lives, they talked directly to me, and they... and they began... telling me about how I could kill myself. I shook them away, but as I tried to drown them out with my fan, my music and booze, they only got more persistent.

They were telling how it would all end if I did it. How just a simple slash across my neck, or noose from the ceiling would end all my problems. How much easier it would be to take all my medication or slit my wrists with the broken glass of my computer or TV screen to make them go away. The days went by, and they were getting louder by the second.

Their methods were getting more gruesome, like something out of horror movie, but I listen, soaking it all in. They would leave me if I left the room, but I would feel empty inside. I needed the voices company, or else I would go mad and start talking to myself, even in the middle of the line in the cafeteria, or even during the occasional lecture I managed to attend out of boredom.

It was now in the second week of December, and I now was talking to them. I had learned that they could hear me, and listened to everything I talked about. I in turn would listen to them for hours, sometimes days at a time, enjoying their talks of death and suffering. They made it sound marvelous. Like how a cool lake felt on a hot summer day, or how one might get a massage after a long workout.

They are speaking to me now as I type up this story. I am aware that I may sound crazy, or that you thought I was getting out of this tale unscathed. No, I am typing this so you know what to do. Because it is the only way to make them stop. Leaving will not work, because you will just crave to hear them. You cannot live without them, you see. I tried. I left for an entire semester, but I was not the same. I had to go back. I had to return to them. You see these voices are just like me.

I had nowhere else to go, and no money to buy a new car or start a new job. The last of my money had been poured into paying for a second semester at the college, which luckily never expired, so before I knew it, I was back in my room with the voices. I was back with my friends.

You see, the voices were taking care of me, and would continue to if I did what they were telling me. They had once been just like me, so why shouldn’t I trust them? They were students who had nothing, and were trapped in this very room. Who am I to leave them? They cannot leave, so why should I? No, I will join them. I will take my the last of my pills and slit my wrist tonight and I will sleep for the first time in almost a year. Good bye reader, and I hope we can talk again real soon.



Dear Diary,

Hi! My name is Alex and it is my first semester here at college. I have decided to keep this on electronic diary as a way to help pass the time. It’s been about a week now, and my roommate, Samantha, never showed up, so I guess I have the whole place to myself. It’s alright so far, but my neighbor’s are loud. I can always hear them talking all night. It’s like they never sleep. I talked to the CA about it but they haven’t done anything to stop them. Oh well, long as I have my fan on or listen to some music its fine.

Anyways, I got to go. I am having my first quiz tomorrow and I am pulling another all nighter to study for it. I did the same thing last night believe it or not and I am not even tired! How cool is that? Usually I sleep like a log and have to force myself to wake up. Guess this whole college thing won’t be so bad after all. Anyways, got to go! Talk to you later!

Sincerely,

Alex

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