Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Story Time: The Voice

A short story I wrote a couple years ago...

On a subway in New York, a man was riding to his office in the city. As he sipped his Starbucks coffee and read the morning newspaper, he suddenly felt the urge to barge in on the subway driver and demand that he stop the subway. He had no idea why he felt the urge, but it was really intense. He felt like something very bad was going to happen if he didn’t stop the subway. He looked at all the people around him who were oblivious to what was going on inside his head. He decided his imagination must have been getting to him and went back to reading his newspaper.

Several minutes went by and he felt the urge again, and this time he felt like he could hear an almost inaudible whisper inside his head telling him that he needed to stop the subway. He thought he should be freaked out by the voice, but he wasn’t. It wasn’t scary, but it clearly wanted him to stop the subway. He looked around again. He was the only one experiencing whatever was going on inside of him. People would think he was crazy if he said that he was supposed to stop the subway because a voice inside of his head told him to. The thought crossed his mind that maybe he was crazy, and he didn’t want to do something that would seem completely stupid just because he thought he heard a voice inside his head. For the second time, he went back to reading his newspaper and sipping his coffee.

Only thirty seconds passed before the intense urge to stop the subway and the inner voice returned, and this time he saw an image inside of his head of a woman lying on subway tracks in the dark. The woman looked terrified as a subway came racing toward her. This time the man knew he couldn’t ignore what was going on. Even if he was crazy, he couldn’t take the risk of putting a woman’s life in danger if there really was one on the tracks up ahead.

The man raced to the front of the subway and demanded to see the driver. He told the driver that he had to stop the subway because someone’s life was in danger if he didn’t. Not wanting to sound crazy, the man didn’t mention that his information came from a voice inside of his head. The driver wasn’t convinced. After several minutes of arguing, the man knew that time was running out, so he finally pushed the driver out of the way and grabbed the brakes himself. The subway came to a screeching halt. The driver wrestled the man to the ground.

Several hours later the man learned from local authorities that a woman had been kidnapped by her ex-husband and placed on the subway tracks, bound up and left to die. Because the man stopped the subway, the woman’s life was saved. He wouldn’t have known to stop the subway if he wouldn’t have heard the voice.

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