Upon hearing the whispers, Wendy immediately opened her eyes. Squinting, she notices the red numbers on her alarm clock read 2:04 A.M. Wendy holds her stuffed teddy bear Oswald, close. The wrinkles on the sides of her eyes straightened with the release of her squint, she lays in bed, in fear; another night, another series of unclaimed whispers. It’s been so many nights now that she can no longer remember the first time she heard these specks of voices.
She tossed and turned under the soft blankets of her bed, nestling herself beneath them. Wendy laid thinking about where the tiny whispers came from. She had an idea but wasn’t quite sure. A thought surfaced, tell my parents? She asked herself softly. She shook her head violently. No. She couldn’t do that. Even if she did they wouldn’t believe her anyway.
Wendy’s father might even spank her for disturbing his sacred sleep. He worked a lot of hours, all kinds of shifts. He even spent a lot of time away from home due to his job. When he was home, he wanted to rest and be with mommy. Although, most of the time it seemed like he mostly wanted to sleep or drink his brown bottles. “Grownup bottles” he called them. Wendy had been over baby bottles for years now and didn’t really even like the taste of milk anymore. She thought that she defiantly wouldn’t want to drink from a grownup bottle, ever! Her daddy got funny when he drank his bottle. And not like a clown or knock-knock joke funny either, a weird funny. After his brown bottles, he passed out on the couch with the TV unattended, remote in his open palm, before being dragged up the steps to bed by his wife. Wendy’s mother would joke to her friends that he talked more to her in his sleep than he did when he was awake. In Wendy’s mind, he wasn’t the worst of daddy, but he certainly wasn’t in the greatest dad in the world either. Although she was only seven years old, Wendy was smart enough to know it wasn’t the healthiest of households.
As her thoughts journeyed on from her whispers to her parents and her scary father, Wendy’s mind finally drifted into a peaceful slumber.
The house remained still and silent the entire night until the tiny, scratchy murmurs of whispers arrived uninvited. Wendy’s scream erupted, and the bedroom light in her parent’s room flicked on.
“What in the heavens of hell is going on!” Her father shouted as he twisted his old withered black bathrobe around his body. He grabbed for his Swiss Army knife out of the nightstand and dropped it into the tiny slit pocket around the waist of the robe.
“It’s Wendy, probably another night terror.” Wendy’s mom said.
Wendy was sitting up in her bed, slouched. Her forehead was moist with sweat. She was sobbing with her eyes close and breathing heavily. Her shaking hands covered her ears.
“What’s the matter Wendy?” her father asked. With her hands still over her ears, Wendy no longer heard her father. He looked at his watch, seeing the time and getting no response he asked again, this time, more impatiently. “WHAT IS WRONG!” He growled.
Wendy cried more with recognition of her father’s impatience. Her tongue fumbled to find her words. “I … it’s the voices… I … I heard the whispers daddy.” She said, spitting the words out.
Her father shook his head and her mother sat next to her on the bed to comfort her. “Wendy honey, you have to stop with this … it is all in your head, enough with this. You’re growing older now, you’ll be eight in just a month. It’s all in your head, okay? Let’s all get some sleep.”
Her father bent down and leaned in to kiss his daughter’s forehead. As he did, there was a thud. The sudden noise caused the cat to scatter out from underneath the bed.
“Hah, you see honey, it was probably just Smokey making silly noises underneath your bed. He must have gotten scared and was hiding there. He’s gone now.” Her father explained.
He patted Wendy on her head, stretched his arms and placed his hands inside the empty waist pockets of his robe. Her father exited the room. Then her mother kissed her on the cheek and reminded her that, “It was all in her head.”
Wendy shrugged her shoulders and turned the opposite way as her mother flicked off the light switch and slowly closed the door shut. As the door shut, Wendy watched the line of light from the hallway diminishing on her wall. She gripped Oswald, pulling him tight to her side. As the light vanished, Wendy’s eyes closed and the darkness of sleep consumed.
The alarm clock in Wendy’s roomed blinked its red numbers, now 3:13 A.M. Wendy’s eyes opened at the sound of another whisper—raspy and sharp like sizzling acid—and right away shouted for her mother. She waited a couple seconds and made out footsteps coming down the hallway before her door swung wide open.
“Wendy, please, it’s the middle of the night. You’ve got to get some sleep. Enough of this nonsense, you almost woke your father, again. It’s all in your head! Get some sleep.” She closed the door and walked back to her bedroom.
Wendy was scared and felt alone. Abandoned. After thinking about it she realized she was more afraid of the whispers and what the bitter voices told her than being spanked by her father. She concentrated on the whispers, trying to make out exactly what they were saying. Perhaps it was all in her head, or perhaps they were nice whispers even, although they didn’t sound very nice. They were making the hair on the back of her neck stand up and her heartbeat quickened. They even seemed to distort her vision from the fear they cast upon her, forcing her to squint just to see. But whatever these whispers were, they were growing stronger and becoming louder. The loudest they’ve been. Almost like they were slowly coming to life. Could this really all be in my head? She thought. And not much later she once again fell into the mouth of sleep.
After an hour of silence in the cozy home, the alarm clock letters burned out … fizzled away. The bright red numbers faded to nothing. Wendy always slept facing the clock and her eyes sensed the sudden blackout. She had loved the little crimson glow the numbers produced in her dark room so she could see a little, like a nightlight. But not anymore, the numbers had vanished. And the whispers came unwanted and relentless.
What do I do? Call Dad? No, she decides, that would be the second time he was disturbed out of sleep. He wouldn’t be very happy with her. She would receive a good whipping for that. But she was afraid, so afraid. Terror was climbing down her spine, tiny spikes of fear dug into her goose bump flesh. The whispers were gaining massive volume and she felt she had to make a decision. Scream for her parent’s again? Or let the whispers get louder, and listen to them. Her heartbeat thumped and hammered, gaining speed, and she could feel her pulse in her veins. With each snap of her heartbeat, another whisper came and was growing louder inside her mind. Wendy gave in. She laid there letting the whispers come to her, one by one they approached, each little voice gathering within her head. Louder and ever so clearer, like they were slowly coming to life.
At the end of the whispers, Wendy sat up in her bed and a horrendous silence filled the room. She called for her mother, saying “Mommy, Mommy” The hallway light clicked on, and the footsteps coming towards her room sounded louder than before. It must be her father … “Oh no,” she whispered. “is he going to hit me? Where will he hit this time? No, I don’t want to be hit.” The images continued to swirl her head—from the past and the future—swirling around and around, as the doorknob to her room slowly turned and the door pushed open.
“Wendy. This is it. This was the last time I will ever come to your room. Your father is up, but I told him I would come.”
“Mommy, don’t say it!”
“Wendy, listen to me. Your father is awake and he isn’t happy honey.”
“No mommy! Please, please don’t say it!”
“Wendy! ENOUGH! It is all in you head, and your father is going to come after you if you wake us again! I won’t be able to stop him! Now go to bed for real this time, its all in your head Wendy, enough.”
Wendy closed her eyelids slowly, as the whispers settled back into her ears. A strange expression stretched across her tiny face. Her mother walked closer towards her, as she did Wendy slipped out of the bed and fell to the floor, fainting.
“Wendy!” Her mother screamed.
Wendy lay on the floor face down, one arm underneath her chest the other was extended halfway under the bed where Smokey was spooked earlier. She didn’t seem to be breathing. Her mother turned her over and gently slapped her cheeks shouting her name over and over.
“Please, Wendy! Say something! Dear God!” With the finish of her sentence, Wendy finally came to consciousness and her eyes opened one after the other. She stared her mother directly in the eyes before squinting a little, like she had lost her version.
“Say something sweetheart! Are you okay?”
“Yes Mommy, I’m okay. They are all in my head now, just like you said. But it’s your turn now Mommy … it’s in your head.”
Her mother shook her head in deep confusion. She squinted and continued shaking her head asking Wendy what she meant. She feared for the child.
“It’s all in your head mom.”
Wendy’s eyes rolled to the back of her head, revealing two milky white eyeballs. Then her pupils began to spin around in circles. After a few seconds, they stopped and she closed her eyes one after the other. Next Wendy swung her arm around towards her mother. The Swiss Army knife’s blade stuck into her mother’s temple and blood spat out. Rivulets of scarlet flowed down her cheek, racing tears to the floor. Her mother fell backward. Wendy crawled on top of her, pulling the knife out of her left temple with a lackadaisical expression pasted on her small face. Her eyes had a vacant stare. She twisted her mother’s head to the clean side and dug the tooth of the blade deep into the right eyeball. A faucet of dark blood squirted into Wendy’s face.
Wendy stood up and whispered, “See Mommy, it’s all in your head.” Her mother’s eyes slowly started to close, one after the other. However, just before they did, her daughter spoke, “ I did what they told me. It was in my head and now it’s in yours.” As her heartbeat stopped and eyes closed shut, she found herself melting into the blank space of death. Here, she would go nowhere, do nothing, except exist in deaths haunting blackness and listen to the whispers.
However, for Wendy, she never listened to another haunting voice in her life. The whispers had finally left her.
Wendy slowly crawled back in bed. She found Oswald and hugged him tight, before falling back to sleep.
Bio: Trevor Abbud is a first-time author writing speculative fiction. Developing a taste for literature as a young child, Abbud took a serious interest in writing. His work has been placed in the Sixfold Fiction Contest. Working as an at-home writer, Abbud is currently developing a novel and a collection of short stories.