Chapter 7a

September 11, 2001

September is never good month for me. Today in particular. Last year on this day I was being hunted. When it came down to brass tacks, my stalker wasn't much of anything to worry about. He has trouble me for some time, even since, but I think he's dead now. As of today, however, there is a new development. I have started hearing voices.

It's not like I would've expected at all, not like the movies. Somebody called my name this morning and told me to get up. I dismissed it as a dream and I'm still not totally sure it was anything else. It was odd and it stuck with me but, so what? Odd things happen. I've had stranger dreams than that, by far, just none that woke me up then made me think I heard a voice.

The rest of the day went without a snag. I mean, it was stressful, sure, that's the nature of life, especially for a person like myself. I still don't get any sleep. That probably started in September, too. The dreams haven't really gotten worse or better. Actually, they might not have ever been that bad. Memory is a fickle bitch but I always remember a surge of apathy that overwhelmed and terror I might have felt. That was perhaps the most frightening aspect of those dreams. Is perhaps the most frightening aspect.

When I was young I stayed awake for three straight days. In retrospect I think I remember some of that apathy that far back. I didn't do it on purpose, exactly, I just wanted to play. I remember that I played and that I played a lot but I don't remember much else. I don't remember falling asleep. I don't remember being reprimanded for being awake or being sluggish through my days. I think I just went to bed like normal at the end of the third day and woke up bright and early without giving a single fuck to circadian cycles.

I sleep more often now, every day almost, but never for long. I wonder if sleep deprivation effects stack. I get between two and four hours nightly but what does that mean? I can't even remember. I don't even know what I'm trying to remember. Everything is fucked.

No, not everything. Maybe nothing. It's just that new development and it might not mean anything, either. The rest of the day was normal. I ate, went places, did things, and then I got home and got to work on whatever it is I was working on (if I remember later I'll scribble it in). That was when I heard them again. It was one voice and it really sounded like my own. I thought it had been but when I opened my mouth after that my lips were dry and stuck together. I had said a name, a woman's name I think, said, "Hello? Is anybody there?" but nobody was there. The words weren't mine and there was nobody else to speak them. I know. I searched for another person, even just evidence of another person, for the next hour. Nobody was there.

This might be small and I'm hoping it is. Just sleep deprivation catching up with me. I doesn't really seem too strange, given how little I sleep and my history of problems, but I can't write it off. I know it's something, I know I'm not hearing the whisper of my own voice. I feel like there's another me but that I'll never be able to find him because I'm looking for myself and always exactly where I'm at. I've felt this way before but somehow this is very different. I'm not being hunted nor am I hunting.

I just heard the voice again a few minutes ago. I am scared. It sounds like my voice but it's not. It doesn't sound malicious, even aware of me, but it's a voice that shouldn't be there and that scares the shit out of me. I looked again and there's really nobody here. The silence draws out the anticipation of the voice's return and wraps it tight around my neck, reducing my breathing to a strained hoarse wisp. I think I heard the voice cough and then...something else? I'm not sure. It was a question and I want to answer but I don't know what the question was.

I think I know what the answer was, though. I'm not sure I can put it into words because I'm not sure I've got all the words but I can at least pieces something together. Do I want to? I heard myself clearly, even if faintly, and that's bad enough, but if I start answering?

No voices tell me this but the answer to my question comes to me all the same. I have to answer. Even not answering requires an answer. I am lost.