Don't Listen to the Voices

By Shelby Anderson

I hear voices. I always have, well, recently. Don’t listen to the voices. The voices that come, the voices that linger. Halloween. Such a mysterious, mythical, and fun time of year.. For most people anyways. A time when children get to dress up as various different things and pretend to be someone that they are not… Actually pretty creepy if you stop to think about it. What comes to mind when you hear the word Halloween? Is it costumes? Carved pumpkins? Candy? Werewolves? Vampires? Halloween may seem like fun and games, but maybe you should reconsider.

I know. I’m a freak. Just randomly talking about Halloween, and being so seemingly paranoid about it. But I can hear the voices. I can promise you, you haven’t seen what I have. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of three. It’s not so much a taboo for me now as it is just a lifestyle. And a pretty odd one at that. My mother always told me that I was different than the people around me, but then again that was before the car accident.. Even then I never really believed her, until I heard the voices. My mother was always my protector, a nurturer by nature. She surrounded me in a bubble of security that made me feel safe and not so alone in a constant swarm of anxiety and depression. Schizophrenia is extremely scary. Especially in October. I have paranoid tendencies and visions. But something just seems different on Halloween.. It starts on the first of October. I hear the same familiar voice each year, just a whisper in the back of my head, or maybe not.. I’ve never really been sure. Since my mother and father died in a car accident, I’ve continued to live at home, it just isn’t the same though. When they were here, the house was bright and cheery. We always had jack-o-lanterns, our halls always smelled of pumpkin spice candles and the cliche cinnamon brooms that they sell around this time every year, we even had garlic garlands hanging on our veranda and our front porch. But now.. I’m not even sure what to consider this place. It’s cold and dreary. The floors creak, the lights flicker, and you can almost always hear footsteps if you are listening closely, and no matter where you are in the house.. You can hear voices. The very last year my parents were alive, Halloween was a particularly weird one. My parents extra secretive, my anxiety even worse than usual, then again, as a young child I couldn’t bare the thought of Halloween. Almost always, Halloween made me shake and shiver, tremble and cry. But not this year.. The last time I ever saw my parents, it was only their backs. They didn’t speak to me. They looked terrified. It seemed like they were running away from me. But why? What was I? What had I become? I was frantic and paranoid, so much so that I could barely breathe. I felt them again. The spirits, the same pressure, the same familiar cold breeze against my skin. I had always seen them. And they had always followed.. But what was so wrong with that? I never heard people speak of the things they saw, but then again maybe that’s because they didn’t see things like I did. They never spoke. They made no effort to communicate, they simply lingered, but this lingering feeling always weighed me down. It told me to do things, it made me feel as though I was obligated almost as though I was on a leash. Just like that I was alone. And I have been since.

I haven’t left this house for 27 years. I haven’t spoken to a single soul in even longer, not even the spirits. I can never really recall the events of that night, but even if I could, I’m not so sure how I would feel. Maybe I was dreaming. Flailing around in a deep sleep. Maybe I was the problem all long, maybe I had done something wrong. Maybe I had killed my parents. But I’m really not so sure. It’s just a distant memory. The children on my block never come to my door or ask me for candy on Halloween. Come to think of it, maybe my mother was the reason that I was able to hold these voices off so long. Maybe her love for me was so strong that she shielded me from the evil that was waiting to consume me. But now she is gone. Some say it was a freak accident. Some people say that they were in such a hurry to get away from some thing that was following, it was wet and dark, and their car fell off the side of an embankment. But the more steadily I think of that night, the more steadily I understand that was not what happened. I was there.. In the car. With them. My parents, I was there… but what killed my parents is still a mystery. A black block in my mind that I can never surpass.. Only giving way to a small child hovering over her parents, bloody, pale, cold and blue. Dead. I knelt down and cried.. And that’s the last I remember of my parents. I never lean into the gimmicks of this holiday anymore. I just sit here and basque in my own thought. I try to recall distant memories, but it seems like they had never occurred. Whatever you do, do not listen to the voices.