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Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

The swirl of voices awoke Jared from his troubled sleep. Vera, his wife, was disturbed only by his tossing and turning, she couldn’t hear the voices. They were in his head.

A senseless drone of overlapping whispers, faint but present, troubled his mind. He could discern no sense or message, just noise. Naturally, he’d told nobody about the recent onset of this affliction.

He rose from bed, approached the window, and stared off into his backyard, partly illuminated by the neighbors’ annoying motion-detecting flood lamp.


Here by the window, it seemed that the voices become more distinct, or perhaps louder. Instead of a senseless swirl, he was now able to sense the definite rhythm of speech. Jared stood and focused intently, but still couldn’t make anything out. The timer on the neighbors’ light ran out, abruptly blotting out the view. As Jared’s eyes adjusted to the deepened dark, the voices seemed to come into sharper focus. Words seemed to emerge, their forms lost in the overlapping sounds.

He looked over his shoulder at his still-sleeping wife. Her obese worm-like body held no appeal to him, and hadn’t for some time. At first he had drowned his frustration in alcohol, but the fire of a man’s lust cannot be quenched by drink, only temporarily dulled. Looking over Vera’s lumpy and rotund form, his affair now seemed an inevitability. After all, we only live once, and a man his age shouldn’t be expected to settle for sexless inebriation.

Especially, if he could have Neesa.

The thought of her fired his mind, that flaming red hair and those seductive green eyes. Hers was an otherworldly beauty, fair alabaster skin taut and supple, alluring curves, neither too slight nor too exaggerated.

He longed to experience her body, and his desire was only amplified by her refusal to fully submit. She explained that she didn’t want to ruin his marriage, didn’t want to be the other woman.

Ruin his marriage? Other woman? Compared to her, there might as well be no other women. He’d made promises and offers, everything and anything she could want. But still, she’d always held back and refused.


“Wait,” she’d said.

The persistent voices wouldn’t let him rest. Taking in one last look at Vera’s bulk spread across the bed he snorted his disgust and left the bedroom for the kitchen where he poured himself a stiff drink. Perhaps a buzz could quiet the racket in his head and let him rest.

The brown liquid burned his throat but did nothing to quiet his head.

Again Neesa’s long frizzy hair and shiny lips pressed into his mind. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. But of course, he couldn’t; such was the nature of infatuation. He downed his drink, poured another, reached for his cell phone, and typed in the memorized number.

“Miss you,” he typed into the text box and pressed send.

Minutes later, Jared’s cell lit up and slowly dimmed, indicating the receipt of a text. Anxiously, but clumsily, he reached for the device and read the message. “‘Miss you to. ‘Sup babe?”

Eventually, his numb fingers were able to pound out a response: “Not much. Can’t sleep.”

Her response came quickly, “I have something that might help you sleep….”

“?” he typed back.

“Why don’t I come by and show you? :) ”

That gave Jared pause. He checked the time, 12:34. It was late. No doubt he could slip out without Vera hearing. But he had work in the morning, and staying up late would make it all the worse tomorrow. Then again, he was already up. And how could he pass the opportunity to stroke that skin, to taste those lips? Maybe tonight she’d finally surrender to him. Why deny such pleasure to lessen future misery?

“It’s a date,” he typed back.

“Be there in 10.”

Ten minutes till heaven, he mused. Plenty of time for one more drink.

* * * * * *

He stumbled down the street towards the agreed meeting place. He could see her black Ford parked near a street light. As he ambled along he saw her interior light go on as Neesa stepped out of the car to meet him.

She was a sight to behold in a flowing pink dress. The top plunged deeply at the neck advertising her full cleavage and the bottom was just short enough to reveal the tops of her stockings, the clasps of her garter belt, and the flawless white of her thighs. She stood daintily as he eagerly approached her.

“Have you been drinking?” she asked in a catty manner.

Jared held up his hands. “Am I that obvious?”

“I can tell,” she responded. “It’s in your face and eyes.”

Without hesitation, she approached and wrapped her arms around him, looked alluringly into his eyes and kissed him sweetly on the mouth. Her body gave no resistance or protest as his hands hungrily explored the smooth curves of her body.

Neesa pulled away giggling playfully, smiling at him.

“So, do you want to get coffee or just go play somewhere?” he asked, hoping of the latter.


“I was thinking we could go somewhere and talk about us,” she hesitated. “And maybe play a little,” she added with a wicked smirk.

A talk about us? Jared’s addled mind fixated on hopeful thoughts. “Sounds like a plan!”

“Hop in, I’ll drive,” she said. He licked his lips as he watched her hips sway around the hood of the car.

* * * * * *

It seemed like she had been driving for a while, but then he hadn’t really been paying attention. The dissonance of voices continued to swirl in his head and had slowly grown louder, though they didn’t drown out any of the ambient sounds of the car, road, or of Neesa’s conversation. It was as though they came to him through a separate sense. He wasn’t hearing, but experiencing them.

The sound of the tires changed from pavement to gravel and Jared noticed that they were driving down a dirt road without street lamps.

“Where the hell are we?” he slurred out.

“Just a little town I grew up in,” she responded. “We’re going to a place an old flame used to take me. There’re a lot of memories at this place, and I’d like you to be part of them,” she said with a sweet smile.

She turned her headlights off and took a hard right down a narrow path into the woods, the way ahead illuminated only by the red running lights. After bouncing with the Ford’s suspension for a few hundred feet, Neesa stopped the car and looked at Jared.

“I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’ve come to some decisions about us.”

Jared looked at her hopefully.

Neesa continued, looking at him seriously, “I think it’s time you left her.” Jared couldn’t conceal the joy on his face. “And I think we should start fresh together.” She leaned across him, bracing herself with one hand on his hip as she opened the glove box and pressed the trunk release button. She winked at him and got out of the car.

He climbed out of the passenger door and met her by the now open trunk.

“When I was a kid, we used to come here to cuddle by the fire and watch the sunrise. I want to experience that again, tonight,” she gripped his hand and squeezed, “and be together.”

She pulled a shovel from the trunk and led him to a place on the ground. “But first, we need to dig a fire pit so that we don’t burn down the whole forest.”

She handed him the shovel and pointed at the spot, “So, please. Dig.”


Jared thought it odd, but a fire would be romantic and he would do anything to possess her.

As he cleared away the leaves and branches where Neesa had pointed, the voices began pounding in his head, louder, more insistent, yet clearer than ever.

“I’ll gather some wood,” she said from behind him.

As the spade cut into the soft ground the internal din intensified. With each shovel full Jared became more aware that the voices were all speaking the same words, only disunited. As the hole widened and deepened they moved more into harmony, making the speech both clearer to grasp but harder to understand, as if an echo were overpowering its own origin.

Jared worked with greater ferocity, driven to finally understand. The blade of the shovel smashed through buried sticks and rocks and squelched as the ground turned damp, then wet.

The voices became a deafening chorus and the shovel struck something unyielding. Jared bent and found the ground muddy and liquid, as though he were standing in a swamp. Reaching into the mud his fingers found a large smooth object. As Jared groped, he noticed the hole was littered not with rocks and sticks, but with bones. Femurs, ulnas, ribs, some smashed by his shovel, others intact.

Jared’s fingers found purchase on the smooth object and lifted. He raised it into the moonlight and stared down in fascination as the red-tinged mud dripped away revealing an elongated inhuman skull with curling segmented horns.

As he stared into its empty eye sockets the voices finally moved into an echoing coherent scream in his mind “… will be enough! Now, join us!”

Jared’s focus broke as pain struck. Blood poured from the deep slash across his throat, spilling to the ground and onto the horned skull. As his life drained and his vision blurred, it seemed that a blackened tongue slid out of the skull’s mouth and lapped at the flowing red ichor.

The voices fell silent as his lifeless body joined the tangle of corpses in the mass grave.

Neesa’s delicate fingers wiped the knife clean and lifted the skull up to her face. She gently stroked its contours, smearing Jared’s blood onto the dry, thirsty bone.

“Not enough yet,” she whispered to it. “But soon, my love.” She kissed the toothy skeletal grin, staining her lips red. Carefully, gently, she placed the skull back on the blood-soaked ground and set to work filling in the hole.

The fresh kill would help feed and restore him, but more was needed, and she would bring it.

Credit: Sasha Brokov

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