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Michael Kelso

I’m hearing voices again. It’s like they float in from another world.  Sometimes they comfort me, being my only company. Other times they frighten me with angry words. I don’t know what the voices want. They never ask me any questions. 

My room is made of darkness. I see light three times a day. A little door opens when my food and water pans are shoved in. That’s when I usually hear weeping. 

I hear a woman speak sometimes about a dreadful creature and it frightens me. I hope to never meet this beast. I’m thankful for the protection of these beings, even though they haunt me. Everything I know I’ve learned from listening to them.

I used to pray for the day when I would enter their presence as an equal. I even made them a picture by scratching the walls with my fingernails. I don’t think they liked it.

I was bound and dragged from the room. When they returned me later, there was a strange smell. It burned my nose and made my head hurt. My room had become a different color. 

That day my bowl was only half full of food. Each day after that it became less. I was confused. What had I done? All I wanted was for these beings to accept me. I paced as best I could. My tiny room was only three paces from one side to the other. I already had to lay with my head in one corner so my feet would fit in the other. Somehow the room shrank over time. Such malevolent magic eventually convinced me they were not the caring benefactors I once thought they were. I began grabbing for more food when the hatch opened. Once I grabbed the hand of my feeder and was surprised to find it small and soft. It startled me enough to let go. 

Later that day, the beings fought loudly over the out of control beast that had attacked one of them. Rage washed over me. How dare this beast attack her when she had cared for it for so long. The deeper, louder voice spoke of destroying the beast, and I agreed wholeheartedly. I found myself wishing that I could help him do it. This monster had to be stopped. The sweet higher voice spoke softly of duty and responsibility. The deeper one said that he would do what needed to be done. 

That night my door opened and the being manifested himself. Somewhere deep inside me, I knew why he was here and I was ready. I didn’t resist as he put a rope around my neck and gently led me out of the room. It was dark outside when we went through the backdoor. Giants surrounded me and I recoiled. He fought against me as I struggled, then suddenly he cried out, “Geoffrey! Stop it!”

That word had meaning for me, but I didn’t know what it was. I stopped struggling when it suddenly came to me. That was my name. 

The being walked up to one of the giants. I tried to cry out to stop him, but my deformed mouth was unable to make any sound but a growling, grunting noise that frightened me. 

He stopped as if understanding. “Tree,” he said, putting his hand on the giant.

I stepped slowly up to it and put my three deformed fingers on it, feeling the roughness of it. I looked at him and saw conflict on his face.  

‘We have to kill that beast.’ I tried to say, but grunts and growls were all that came out. He still didn’t move. I started pulling against the rope, hoping to show him just how much I wanted to help him. To show my love for these beings who had taken care of me. 

I pulled so hard that he stumbled and lost his grip. I ran towards these trees, feeling that this was where the beast lurked. 

“Geoffrey!” he called after me. 

I stumbled and fell as I turned. He caught up with me and I felt pain in my head. My world went black.

When I opened my eyes, I was laying in another room. This one was smaller. Strangely, the walls were made of dirt, and there was no roof. I could see trees looking in at me. I tried to get up, but the rope was now tied around my hands and feet.

‘Help!’ I called, hearing only grunts from my mouth. 

The being appeared at the top of the room. He looked down at me as water dripped from his eye. 

“I’m sorry … son.”

He disappeared as dirt flew in my face. 

‘What about the beast?’ I called. ‘Who will save her from the beast?’

More dirt flew until I could no longer speak…

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