Zombie Office

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Nothing ever got done in the zombie office. By the time most of the workers got in it was mid-day and when the last of them left it was almost nighttime. The air smelt like blood, over-cooked meat and rot which wasn’t something a non-zombie could stomach for long. Also, everything felt sticky and had strange dried prints on it from things no one wanted to knew about.

Watching the zombies from his large office window, the new manager called the chief executive up and said, ‘why have we hired zombies? They hardly get any work done and their office is a mess! Wouldn’t normal people be better?’

The chief executive breathed heavily down the phone and replied, ‘I understand but if we could’ve hired “normal” people we would’ve done.’

‘What do you mean?’ the new manager asked.

‘Well….We’re a bit short on humans at the moment,’ the chief executive explained.

‘I see……’ the manager trailed.

‘Don’t worry about it. The zombies will get their tasks done soon enough. If you need something rushed get a witch or warlock in office WW twenty-eight to do it,’ the chief executive added then put the phone down.

The new manager signed and turned away from that window to another. This one looked out of the city. He could see a dark grey gloomy sky and lines of black smoke raising upwards. Most of the buildings were burnt and or abandoned, those that were still occupied barely hung on to their grey and brown colours.

The Supernatural Take Over really wasn’t going to plan.

Desert

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In the desert no one can remember your name because once you enter the red sand you are lost to all time in an accidentally wormhole. Your life is wiped out and those that knew you forget instantly as if you had never been born. The wormhole is eternal and as you drift through you see flashes of things. Sometimes you know these things – a rainbow, an expensive take away coffee cup but most of the times there’s just flashes of colour. You will die here in days, weeks maybe a month because no one gets out for that is the nature of a red sand wormhole.

The Basement (Part 7)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

All I could breath in was soil and decay. My ears were ringing, partly deafening me. I went over to my wife and pressed my back against the door too. A part of me didn’t think this flimsy wood would keep the skeletons back.

‘Are you hurt?’ Raven asked me.

‘I don’t think so…’ I trailed.

I was in too much shock to be thinking clearly. I tried to listen through the door, but the sounds were muffled. I reached for Raven’s hand and held it tightly. We listened and waited for the skeletons. A minute later, we heard banging and groaning. The door vibrated along our backs.

‘Let’s make a run for it. We can lose them in the cellars,’ Raven spoke.

Arming herself once again with the bits of coffin lid she had tossed aside, my wife walked a few steps then broke in a jog. I followed, not sure what else to do but thinking that Raven might be right. The cellars were a twisted maze and we should easily reached the house again before the skeletons got anywhere near us.

We headed back through the dirt tunnel, not talking just concentrating. Images flashed by me; the cloth rags around the bones, the shuffling footsteps, the grinning jaws, the missing teeth. The crumbled skeletons piling at my feet and Raven, my amazing woman, fighting then and taking so many down.

Why had they attacked us? How had they come to life? I had thought the house might be haunted…by ghosts and normal creepiness, but this? Animated skeletons in the basement? My brain was getting tried trying to answer those questions and more. My body was aching all over and the torch felt so heavy in my hand.

From behind us, the door broke down, sending a cloud of dirty towards us. I stole looks back and saw the skeletons pulling themselves out of the debris. At the back of my mind, I had been hoping that the door would stop them. Maybe, there’d been some magic seal or something that would stop them and trap the skeletons like before when we hadn’t entered.

Raven raced ahead of me and her torch light become just a dot. I tried to pick up speed, but I was too tried. Slowly and without wanting to, I came to a stop. Doubling over, I tried to breath but my throat was burning. Everything seemed to spin around me, waving in and out of focus like fast changing storm clouds. I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from going down.

Claws in my leg, right between the top of my boot of the cuffs of my black jeans. The clattering of loose teeth and clicking of bones, brought the last few minutes back into my head. I snapped awake, twisting around, thinking it had all been a dream, but then I realised I was laying face down in musty soil, my fingers hitting against a torch.

‘Crow? Crow? Where are you?’ Raven’s voice was screaming in the distance.

I took a deep breath and grabbing the torch, swung back at it. I heard the connection of plastic and bone. The tightness on my leg released and I scrambled upwards. Not looking back as I had enough fuel for nightmares to last the rest of my life, I bolted down the rest of the soil passage way and into Raven.

She had been coming back for me and I sent us both sprawling to the floor.

‘Are you okay? Where did you go?’ Raven gushed.

‘I tripped. I’m fine,’ I said.

We hugged tightly and helped each other up. We walked the rest of the way, holding each other as if we had been for a simple stroll around the rose gardens. Gratefully, I hobbled through the doorway and into the cellar.

I slummed down, slipping out of Raven’s arms. Pain was spiking through my ankle. I heard her closing the door and scrambling around.

‘What you doing?’ I mumbled.

‘Slowing them down,’ Raven replied.

I eased myself up  and watched my wife, shoving wood planks up against the door to block it. I should help, I wanted to help, but I couldn’t move. Laying down seemed the best thing to do right now.  Sleep was also good. I shut my eyes and felt myself drift.

‘Crow!’

A hand slapped my face and I awoke quickly.

‘You are hurt,’ Raven said.

In the torch light I could see her face was a worried and dirt streaked. The warrior seemed to be wearing out of her.

‘Not really. I’m okay, just my ankle….I twisted it,’ I told her.

Raven helped me up and I hobbled along side her. We went back through the cellar rooms till I thought we must be lost because it had been so long and everything looked the same.

‘We need to stop. I can’t go on,’ I said and aimed myself towards the floor.

Raven let me go and I sank down heavily like a anchor. I pressed my back against the cold, damp wall and looked up at Raven. She was tried. Her shoulders were slumped, her arms dragging downwards and she was breathing more deeply then I had seen her do so before.

She sat down next to me. Her boots scrapping the ground. She brought her knees up and pressed her face into them with some difficulty given her curvy frame.

We were silent. The darkness filled the void between us. I shut my eyes and let sleep claim me. I dreamed of nothing, just pools of darkness.

Raven shuffling brought me back too. We hadn’t turned the torches out, at least I don’t recall if we did and now Raven was bashing her’s in her palm and flicking the switch on and off.

I felt for mine and checked it. The beam seemed a bit dimmer but it was still working.

‘How much further?’ I asked.

‘Not far,’ Raven replied giving up with her torch, ‘I’m sure we must nearly be there.’

‘How sure?’

Raven looked at me her face serious then crumbling, ‘I don’t know…’

‘Are we lost?’

‘I…think so,’ Raven chocked, ‘I was too worried about you and I wasn’t thinking…’

‘It’s okay,’ I said softly, rubbing her back, ‘we’ll figure it out.’

Raven nodded.

We steeled ourselves and started walking again. This time I paid attention to the rooms, noticing the few bits and pieces as we passed. Twice we walked back into the final room and we heard from the hidden doorway banging and groaning. The door was strangely holding the skeletons back.

Finally, Raven found some sharp stones and we began marking the rooms as we went through them. That helped and at last we found the staircase. Heading upwards, I wondered what condition things would be in, but my mind was really far from that. I wanted to eat, sleep and hold my wife tightly.

Raven opened the door and went though to collapse at the kitchen table. I joined her, noticing how bright it was and how dirty we both were. My glass of half drunk water from hours ago was still on the table. I picked it up and drained it. Getting up, I went to the sank and drink straight from the table. I scrubbed my hands and face.

I got Raven a glass of water and watched her drink it slowly.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘I think so…’

‘Listen, Raven…’

‘I love you, Crow.’

‘I love you too,’ I replied.

‘And this house is just perfect,’ she add, getting up and hugging me, ‘I can’t believe it, skeletons in the cellar! What more could I have asked for!’

‘So, you’re not upset,’ I mumbled into her shoulder.

She kissed me and answered, ‘far from it.’

The Basement (Part 6)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I felt Raven squeezing against me, breathing hard in my ear. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a skeleton was really raising out of the ground. I tried to be rational, there was an earthquake and that was why all the graves were being disturbed. I was sure I’d heard something about that when there were other disasters; cemeteries got broken up and bodies moved about. That’s all it was.

‘Let’s go,’ I said and started to get up.

Raven muttered something that I didn’t hear, it sounded like, ‘keep low.’

We helped each other up then began moving towards the dirt covered stairs. Another skeleton hand burst upwards, showering us with soil. I swallowed a scream. There was nothing to be scared of, I was just over reacting. Grabbing Raven’s hand tightly, I walked steadily forward, keeping my eyes fixed on the door.

‘Oh, Crow look!’ Raven called.

I stole a glance at her and in the direction she was pointing. My wife was a mess which was so not like her. She was covered in dirt and her cheeks were flushed red. Her finger was pointing at the first stone sarcophagus. A large crack had spilt the stone side in half and the lid had moved off.

‘It’s just the earthquake,’ I shouted, ‘Oh no! The house!’

I broke into a run, suddenly blinded by worry. Tugging my wife after me, my thoughts spiralled and I pictured the house breaking apart and falling down. Everything would be lost! All my money, stuff, my life….My marriage….. Panic shot through me and I darted like a rabbit being chased by a fox.

‘Crow!’ Raven yelled at me.

I had no time to respond. The ground give a huge violent shake, tumbling us back down. I hit the moving soil hard and felt pain spiking through my hands, arms and knees. My torch flew away from me; light scattering around like a disco ball. I caught my breath then looked at my wife.

Raven was on her knees, searching for her torch which had tumbled down a hole. Her cheek and hands were scratched and bleeding. Her hair was totally dishevelled and clumped with dirt. In the dim light, her face looked pale, puzzled and worried.

‘Raven. Are you okay?’ I asked.

From behind us came loud groaning sounds which reminded me of zombie movies. Raven was a fan of those movies and whilst I found them okay, the idea that one day zombies could walk the earth chilled me. Trying to pertained it was just gas escaping. I helped Raven find her torch then went over to mine.

Something ensnared my leg, biting into my ankle. I cried out and looked down. Fingers were wrapped around me. I tried to kick free, but the grip was too strong. I bent down, ready to prise the boney fingers off me. Instead, another hand came upwards and grabbed mine.

‘Oh my god! It’s got me! Raven! Ahhhh!’ I screamed.

I heard rather then saw, Raven rush over and began stomping on the hands. The bones broke and snapped away but some how the skeleton still held on to me. I felt myself being dragged downwards. I couldn’t do anything my brain had gone into total panic. I felt the iron grip loosen and my wife tugging me away.

Raven must have been saying something but I couldn’t hear her. All around the groaning had reached a high followed by the sounds of the place shaking and things breaking a part. I couldn’t keep my balance and was constantly stumbling over. I was struggling to breath too, the air was clogged with dust, dirt and decay.

My hand slipped from Raven’s. I bent over trying to calm myself and focus. I looked at the ground just next to my feet and took in deep breaths. This was so not happening! Whatever the hell was going on here wasn’t real. This was a nightmare and I was going to convince myself of it.

Despite all the background noise, I heard the snapping of wood close by and looked up. Raven was standing by a dark wooden coffin and was ripping off chunks of the lid. Her torch was between her legs and she was grunting with the effort but looked determined to achieve her goal. Frowning, I watched her break the long planks in half. She handed me two and I slipped my torch under my arm. Then I switched the plank and torch around. It took my brain a moment to realise what she wanted me to do.

We were surround. The skeletons were all upright and ambling towards us with shuffling steps. Some had scraps of fabric hanging off them, others had shoes still on, a few even had jewellery around their necks and arms. There was no flesh or anything else left on them, they were all just creamy or yellow bones. It looked like a scene out of a fantasy horror movie.

It was a strange sight and one that would stay with me forever. I clutched the piece of coffin lid my wife had given me as if it alone would save me. Though I wasn’t religious I began praying because that was always the think to do in situations like this, wasn’t it?

‘Oh God, or whatever, please save us. Please get us out of this….’ I spoke.

‘I’ll get us out of this,’ Raven cut in.

I looked at her and she was battle ready. In a flash, I remembered the time I had seen her fight in a competition and how she had quickly won. Now, she was holding her pieces of wood like swords in both hands and was fixed on the closest skeleton, ready to swing it’s skull off. Her torch was safe tugged under her arm.

I had been avoiding looking into the hollow eye sockets before, but now I was drawn too. There was nothing there, not like a black spark of evil magic or anything that would allow sight. What was drawing these things to us?

Raven struck out at the skeleton and just as I predicated it’s skull went sailing off, over the tops of the other skeletons. Then that one just crumpled to the ground, all the bones clattering together and forming a scattered pile at Raven’s feet.

‘Easier then I thought! Come on Crow! Get whacking!’ my wife screamed.

She swing both pieces of wood this time and took out two skeletons. Nervously, I looked at the skeleton coming towards me. It was short and it’s jaw was hanging off to the side. I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, opened my eyes then swung back with the plank in my right hand. As if I was hitting an oncoming ball, I swung back with force, aiming of the skull and actually sending it clean off.

‘Yeah! You did it!’ Raven cheered, ‘Now do it again!’

I was shaking and wasn’t sure I could. I watched her take out three more then there was another skeleton real close to me. I swung out again and this time caught the rib cage. There was a snapping and cracking of bones. The skeleton paused then stepped towards me again. This time I aimed for the skull and took it straight off.

‘We need to move!’ Raven yelled with a toss of her head, ‘let’s get to the door and out of here!’

‘But how?’ I shouted back.

The ground was still quaking and the skeletons were swarming us. I had another flash picture, only this time we were covered in skeletons and they were biting at us till we died. If this was a nightmare then it would end, right? I didn’t have time to reflect on that because another skeleton was upon me.

I hit into it, taking down in two strokes. The bones crumpled to the floor to join the others. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raven make a break for it and dart over to the steps. We had been super close before, but we had allowed the skeletons to cut us off. Trying to keep down my panic, I fled after her, feeling boney finger tips scratching me.

Seeing Raven reach and climb the stairs, spurred me on. My foot hit the first step and I raced up them, moving faster then I’ve ever done in my whole life. I heard the skeletons moaning and groaning behind us as if they realised we were getting away. I strange thought entered my head; how could they make noise when they had no vocal cords?

That was another thought for later! Raven was through the door and spinning back to call me on.

‘Almost there, Crow! Come on! You can do it!’ she called.

I charged through the door like a bull and went sprawling on the floor of the passage way. I heard the door slamming shut and Raven scrambling around. I climbed to my feet and saw my wife pressed again the door.

We were far from safe.

To Be Continued….

Wings #writephoto

They circled as one giant black mass. Blocking the sky and the sun out, causing darkness to fall. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up in wonder. Then the birds began dropping like stones. Their lifeless bodies hitting roofs, cars, pavements and people.

Panic raged across the country. Everyone hurried to find shelter, whilst grabbing phones to take photos, footage and to call others. Cats and dogs went crazy trying to catch the dead birds but soon even other animals realised that something was very wrong.

Hours later, the bodies of all the world’s birds lay piled up on the ground. All countries had declared an emergence and everyone was either being told to stay home or if they were needed to come in right away.

No one could work out what had happened but one thing was for sure Earth was now in great peril.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/06/08/thursday-photo-prompt-wings-writephoto/ with thanks)

Death X

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Something awakes you and your eyes open slowly. It takes a few seconds to realise you are looking at the bathroom ceiling and are laying on the floor beside the tub. Easily up, you rub your head and face, wondering how you ended up here.

Placing your hands on the cold bathtub, you get to your feet. You notice there’s no water in the tub but there is strange red stains around the plug hole, on the bath’s sides and across the white tiles. Even though it’s smeared, one of the stains on the tiles looks like a hand print….

You turn to the sink. Run the cold tap and splash water on your face. Feeling a little better, you walk into your bedroom. At that point you realise you are naked. Pinging with worry, you snatch a long t-shirt and shorts off your bed and put them on. You listen, wondering if you are still alone in the house.

Hearing nothing, you drift around your room trying to figure out what happened. You decided you must have slipped getting out of the bath. Going to the clock, you look at the time and see it’s past midnight. Four hours have past since you were in the bath.

Something on your desk catches your eyes and you go over. The desk is normally tidy, that’s how you like it, everything put away and organised. It helps you to think clearly. There’s a sheet of notebook paper right in the middle of the desk. Picking it up, you began reading and quickly realise this is a suicide note in your handwriting with blood droplets across it.

How can this be? You managed to say before your head becomes too filled with puzzlement and panic. You try to calm, to take deep breaths. You sink on to the chair and focus on the letter. You notice a date at the top. It was three days ago.

Everything starts to click into place. You recall the bathtub and tiles with the red stains. So it must be true, you decided. However, you can’t remember anything. Re-reading the letter a few times the more you get a feeling that something just isn’t right.

Knock #writephoto

My great-grandfather, Bill, told me this story and tonight I want to tell you it.

In his time, the mines were all over Cornwall and almost all the men worked in one. They did long hard shifts, digging underground in small, dimly light tunnels. The sounds of pickaxes, shovels and carts filled the air so loudly they could hardly hear each other. And the coal dust! It got everywhere and clogged the air right up. They said if you cut a miner up the only thing inside of him would be black coal dust.

Now one day, great-grandfather Bill was down in a new tunnel having a quick walk through to make sure the wooden support beams had been put in place before any real digging started. He had with him an old friend called Tom and as they stood in the middle of the tunnel, they heard a loud sharp knock.

Puzzled they listened harder. They were far from the other miners and the noise couldn’t have travelled that long and clear as it had been. They looked at each other and listened again. There was another knock then no more.

‘It’s the Knockers,’ Tom whispered.

Bill shot Tom a look and replied, ‘it’s just the echos of someone digging. This beam is fine. On to the next.’

The moved on and inspected a few more beams before they heard another knock. The sound travelled through the tunnel and it was much like heavy knuckles rapping at a wooden door. No way could that have been the sound of someone mining coal.

‘Hello!’ Bill shouted.

His voice echoed but there was no reply. He flashed his lantern round and the candle flame flickered then became still. Bill couldn’t make anything out and it didn’t help that the light was only a small pool.

‘Let’s go,’ Tom muttered and started to head back.

‘No. We need to finish this…’

‘I’m going back! When a Knocker starts a knocking you get out!’ Tom stated.

Bill watched him walk away in the glow of the candle light. My great-granddad wasn’t afraid of the little folk who lived underground. He carried on with his work, taking the time to check each beam would hold the tunnel roof up.

A shuffling of footsteps drew his attention and he shone his light down. There was nothing in front or behind him on the solid rock ground he could see. A chuckling noise snapped Bill’s head right up and he spun around, knowing now he wasn’t alone.

‘Tom that you! Come on, show yourself!’ Bill shouted.

A spot of light glowed against the tunnel wall and Bill started to track it. The flames was ahead of him. Thinking that his men were playing a trick on him, Bill decided to ignore it. They weren’t going to get the satisfaction from scaring him.

Bill walked towards the light, but it seemed to fade and move away the closer he got. Growling, he stopped and wiped the sweat from his head. He was tried, hot and wanting to go home to his wife.

He swore and turned around to head back.

The tinkling of metal and the sound of someone hammering with a pickaxe made Bill turn back. He saw there before him, in the gloomy light, a small figure no bigger then a very small child. The figure, appeared to be a male and wearing a miner’s clothes. His face was that of an old man with wrinkles and a long grey beard. He had a lantern in one hand and pickaxe in the other.

‘Are you a Knocker?’ Bill asked in shock.

The figure nodded, ‘aye.’

‘What do you want?’ Bill demanded.

‘You didn’t seem to get our warning about this tunnel. It’s not safe. So I thought I’d come and tell you myself. Since you are alone now,’ the Knocker replied in a gravelly voice.

Now, Bill wasn’t sure what else to say and he was trying hard to remember what people said about Knockers. They were little folk who liked to cause mischief, steal tools and food. Some of the men tossed their pasty crusts to them in the hopes it would keep them away.

‘You should go,’ the Knocker said sharply.

Bill nodded and turned around, he walked a few steps then twisted about again. The tunnel before him was empty. He walked out and a few moments later a giant rumble echoed through the tunnel. Bill turned and saw the entrance clouded in thick smoke. When it cleared, the tunnel had collapsed.

When he came up from the mine that evening, Bill went straight home and didn’t tell anyone what had happened.

It was only when I was a kid and he liked telling tales that one day that story slipped out of him. I asked him many times to tell me about it, but he only told it one other time and that was right before he died.

You see, it was just too unbelievable for him to deal with what he saw and now he’s taken the full story to his grave.

 

(Inspired from a prompt by; https://scvincent.com/2017/06/01/thursday-photo-prompt-knock-writephoto/ with thanks).

Staircase

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The staircase spirals on and you follow each step up even though you are tried. Your hand glides over the wooden banister from which you can feel a strange warmth from. You long ago give up counting the white steps and though you wish to stop you can’t seem to bring yourself to still your feet.

The staircase goes on forever. You can’t see the beginning or the end. A soft white light filters around, but you don’t know where it’s coming from. However, it seems to move with you because when you look below or above the stairs are full of shadows.

The staircase never reaches the surface. You know that within your body and soul. You keep climbing still though. A few times you did turn around and head downwards, thinking that maybe there’d be something different in the opposite direction, but nothing had come of it.

So, you keep walking and hope that somehow this limbo that you are in breaks.

 

Missing

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What happened to this book?

It’s just vanished, like it was never there to begin with.

But I know it was there before, once long ago.

Voices

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I had always know my son, Caleb was different. How often had I stood at the kitchen window watching him talking and playing with someone who wasn’t there? I had blamed it on imagination. He was an adventurous child, forever wanting to do things and chatting away.

He had a normal up bring. Yes, he was an only child but his father and I were happily married. We did lots of family things together and with both of us being teachers, we had Caleb embrace education. He was perfectly fine in school too, always getting high grades and having lots of friends. He was healthy and loved sports.

Under that though, there had always just been something…

When he was twelve he still had imaginary friends. He could be playing in his bedroom, the garden or at the park and you could hear him talking aloud. It would seem at first he was talking to someone, an adult or another child, but then you just knew he was talking to himself.

‘Who is it you are talking too?’ I asked him one summer’s day.

Caleb was sitting on the lawn, a few toys scattered around him and I was hanging out the washing. It was the summer holidays and though we normally send him to a summer school or camp to be with other children, he had refused to go this year.

He turned to me, a toy tank in his hand and looked up through his choppy fringe which needed cutting.

‘No one,’ he replied.

‘You’re too old for imaginary friends now,’ I pointed out.

‘They’re not imaginary,’ he muttered and went back to playing.

‘Oh, then who are they? Are you on the phone?’ I asked.

‘No. I’m thirsty. Can I have a drink please, mum?’

‘Okay,’ I said slowly.

Pegging the last sock on the line, I walked back into the house. From behind me, I heard Caleb whisper, ‘she’s going now. Tell me more about the War.’

I almost turned around but I didn’t. I made him a glass of orange squash and took it outside. He was playing like a normal child, rolling his tank over the grass and making gun like noises as he reacted a battle with his toy soldiers.

Of course, I then spoke to his father, his teachers, the parents of his friends and they had for years noticed the same thing that I had; Caleb was seemingly talking to someone all the time. The idea that he should’ve grown out of that by now stuck with me and I became determined to figure out what was wrong with him.

Finally two years later, I got him in to see someone from the mental health, but Caleb wouldn’t talk. We had maybe four sessions then that was it. For awhile after, I thought it had worked, he was quiet and sullen, a typical fourteen year old most would say. It wasn’t the truth though.

Instead of finding hidden adult materiel in his room, I began finding notebooks filled with what seemed to be stories and conversations. There was no title or dates, just a run on of writing. The stories covered lots of different time periods. There was one about a WW2 fighter pilot, who was blown out of his plane over Germany spent the rest of the War as a POW. Another, told of a little boy who was tricked into going down into a well and died there when he became trapped.

I put the notebooks back every time and I tried to bring them up in conventions without reveling I knew about them. Caleb shrugged it off, ignoring my suggests that he was interested in writing and journalism.  I had to let it go in the end.

Caleb made it through high school and college. He got top of the class grades and he went on to a good university to study to be a teacher. We were both proud of him. When he moved out though, the house became empty, almost sad like. We got by though. Work kept us both busy and we were looking into fostering and maybe adoption.

The news hit out of no where, almost three years after that, just as Caleb was doing his finals. I was sat in my headmistress’ office, reading emails when the phone rang. I picked it up like normal, thinking it a call from a parent or teacher etc, but it was Caleb’s university tutor telling me that Caleb had been found dead in his student room. He had hung himself three days ago.

A strange feeling went though me, it was like sand slipping through my fingers in slow motion. The tutor’s voice sounded dim and everything around me had begun to fade. I couldn’t think clearly. I dropped the phone and just sat there.

We had to go and pack up his student room. I was running on automatic and so we just moved his stuff back into his bedroom. I just kept thinking that Caleb had moved back in and he was out with his friends. It was months, maybe close to a year before we actually went through all of his things.

Sitting on Caleb’s bedroom floor, sorting things out into piles, my husband and I worked in silence. It was raining heavily outside and the wind was rattling the windows. A storm was on its’ way. I dug through a cardboard box and began pulling things out.

In a handful of notebooks and even in between his uni notes, he had written strange stories and conversations which so reminded me of the notebooks I had found when he was younger. These were not like any stories he had written before though. They were horrible, filled with violence and death.

I found a diary. It was a fake black leather covered A5 size with lined pages for each date. I had never known him to keep one before and as I flipped through the pages, I saw he had written about hearing voices in his head. Some days were blank or he’d simple put;

I didn’t hear any voices today. 

On other days he had written things like;

A voice told me a new story today. I wrote it down, like I do with all of them. These voices are more then just those of fiction characters. They are so real. Maybe they are ghosts? I’ve never believed in that though. But how else can they be explained? 

Then about four months before his death, I found this;

The voices were bad today. I have one at the moment that keeps telling me to kill myself. I’m fighting it like I do with all the others but it’s so strong. It doesn’t seem to have a story or talk to me like the others. It questions if I’m good enough and what’s the point and that every will be better if I just pick up the knife and bleed.

I shall try to contain it. I know what the voice is saying is wrong.

Two months later, Caleb had wrote;

The “suicidal voice” has gotten worse. I can’t sleep and I’m not eating much. The voice has taken over and it’s constantly whispering to me. It tells me over and over to kill myself. It says pain is good and so is blood. My life is pointless, I’m useless, nobody loves me or wants me. I can’t think of anything else but that voice.

All the other voices have gone now. They have vanished and even if I try to think about them and speak to them, I can’t. The “suicidal voice” blocks them all. I don’t know what to do. I need to tell someone. I need help. But what can I say? I’ve been hearing voices all my life, Doctor and now I’ve got this voice repeatedly telling me to kill myself. No one will believe me!

I felt tears running down my face. My husband was saying my name but I ignored him and turned to the last page my son had written on. He had put;

I can’t cope any more! Everything I’ve tried hasn’t worked! Listening to the voice is the only choice I’ve got now. I’m going to do it tonight. 

I pressed the pages to my face and burst into tears. My son had been a schizophrenic and no one had ever known about it.

(Story inspired by local research into hearing voices at Manchester University  https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/research/projectdetails/?ID=3083)