7. accepting an apology
“Why deny it?”
Cole’s tearful eyes came to a brim. He began to hear those words again, the words he had been hearing as faint whispers for the past few months. The words Scarlett Cambern had never spoken to him. But from a young woman who had been murdered by her best friend, Lauren May. And now she was floating in thin air for her wrongdoing.
Cole stretched out his hand in front of him, fingers spaced wide apart. He called out slowly to it, “Sylvia…”
“I’ve forgiven her. You can let her go.” Cole slowly whispered to her.
Lauren gently began to float down. Her face was wet with tears. When she felt her feet touch the ground, Sylvia had released her. Cole watched as the warping energy and the bees began to fade. The sounds had stopped. Lauren slowly fall to the ground and began sobbing, with her hands over her winced face. Her head collapsed on the floor. Her heart overwhelmed by disgust and grief. Cole saw a glimpse of Sylvia, not as the warping image but as she was once a person. Her dark pensive eyes watched him. A tear trickled down his cheek. He inhaled deeply as she converted into a streak of light and then, Sylvia was gone.
Cole and Lauren made their way to his house, with Lauren consumed by guilt as she followed Cole. As Cole reached the steps he paused. Lauren couldn’t hear the sounds anymore. Cole spoke no word. He sat on the footsteps and softly gestured with his hand, tapped against the steps beside him. Lauren sat beside him. They remained quiet for some time. Cole inhaled deeply and quietly as his teary eyes glanced towards the shed. Somehow, having seen Sylvia for a final time had relieved his heart. The heavy-hearted feeling was gone.
Lauren pulled out the envelope Cole had left under the tree, and began to read to herself.
8. words on the note
Why deny it? I’ve been gone for long now. Lauren May was her name.
If she confessed. Would you find peace?
What if I leave…
6. Lauren may’s confession
His eyes had changed, they’d become white like they were blind. He spoke no words. Cole had channeled something inside him, like a medium. He had no sense of consciousness and control over his actions. Suddenly Cole stopped pulling, his fingers became loose. Eyes faded to normal. He’d slowly regained consciousness. The bag continued pulling over Lauren’s face. She had almost stopped breathing.
But he felt a pull over his chest. Cole’s eyes had dilated with horror and disbelief. Before he could react the pull pushed him away from Lauren. He fell back with such force. There was a distorted, warping like energy floating before his dark eyes. He was drawn towards it. A supernatural energy. Around which, there were a cluster of bees floating with this, “entity”. Cole watched as Lauren May’s body pulled into the air like a puppet, under a radiating bulb. A hangman like position. Guilty.
“DON’T!” Cole shouted out at the supernatural energy.
Tears stood in his eyes, he knew who or what it was. The pull from the bag began to loosen, very slowly. Lauren quickly pulled the bag from her face, and grasped for air. Regained consciousness. It sent a strong jolt in her heart as she saw herself suspended in thin air. Her eyes grew wide with trepidation and disbelief as her face bristled with tension. Something had held her up and refused to let her go. A look of fatalism had darkened her pessimistic eyes.
“I confess, I DID IT!” Lauren raised her head towards the glowing bulb and cried out uncontrollably. With a wrinkled wince. Cole followed the movement of her lips.
“I was so wrong. I ask of your forgiveness.”
“I’m so sorry… ” She sobbed with her voice breaking up. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. Disbelief and disturbance came over him. The depths of his consciousness stirred from within. But Cole never heard what Lauren had confessed. Only that the crying wince that wrinkled her face had confirmed to him. Cole remembered the words written on the note.
5. engulfed, bees and trepidation
The lights were off, it seemed from afar. Her dazed, listless eyes watched. Her current state of mind engulfed by melancholic loneliness. She waited for quite awhile since she had travelled through the woods when it came to an end and she found herself in front of Cole Cambern’s house. Splotches of dirt and mud stained her black cotton vest and Denim jeans. All by herself in this dark. She turned towards the shed. The lights were radiating, Cole Cambern was probably working in the shed this late. Her heart grew heavy. She had found the note Cole had left in the fields under the tree this afternoon. It’s what had brought her here. But Lauren hadn’t even read it yet.
Distorted, overlapping sounds of bees were ringing in her ears. Mild whispers that grew louder for only a moment. Deafening her, temporarily, as if they were embedded with her thoughts. Lauren May, had a confession to make. She made her way slowly towards the light of the shed. The 27 year-old closely resembled Amy Gumenick, as she stood under the light of the open shed. Her stomaching was churning now.
“Mr. Cambern?” She called out with a whisper.
She tried again after clearing her tightening throat, but there was no reply. Lauren made her way inside and glanced everywhere to find Cole Cambern absent. She’d thought about making her way towards the house. But she waited. Her hands were shaking slightly as she tried to hold herself together. The glint in her eyes grew potent, it began to blur her sight. Her eyes fell shut as her face grew into a wince.
The sounds grew stronger. She’d realised why it had frighteningly haunted her since the incident. It occurred to her, that this had to be done no matter what came next. She was about to make a confession when the sounds in her ears stopped abruptly. Lauren waited, and slowly opened her tear filled eyes in such relief. And then she heard footsteps from behind. Before she could turn to see who it was, hands reached from the shadows behind her. A plastic bag quickly fell over her face. Lauren inhaled and exhaled rapidly with her fingers attempting to pull the bag from over her face. Her cries muffled from the tightening of the bag. She was panting. The panic jerked her with elevating trepidation.
4. far on the fields
He drove out towards the countryside in his father’s black Chevrolet Impala 67, the words had instructed him to. Perspiration grew under his armpits from the warm breeze of air outside, even with the window half open. Cole wore a thin jacket over his checker shirt. He remained in the car waiting on one side of the road. The ignition switched off, one hand resting over the steering wheel. Whether if the radio was transmitting anything or not, Cole had left his hearing aid at home. He’d come to realise that once they were back in his ear, the words or faint whispers were gone. And that he could only hear them in his right, as if he went deaf in his left ear.
There was a song playing on the radio, SMOTHER by Daughter. Sung with soft lilt by Elena Tonra, it felt melancholic. If only Cole heard it this moment.
A glance at the rear mirror and then away. Cleared his throat. Gently his hand tapped against his chest once, twice closer to the left. There was something in his inner pocket. He pulled out an envelope from his left inner pocket. Confusion had fallen over him, how could this envelope be in his pocket? He opened it and read through, his eyes followed every word. One after another. Distilled by so much sorrow. Cole struggled with such despair. It was suffocating. Removed the keys, held onto them as he made his way on the fields. He left the note under a tree and then made his way back to the Impala.
About to start the ignition Cole stopped, with his fingers resting around the keys. He stared towards the fields he’d just exit from. Waiting, about a minute or two. Then twisted the keys as he turned away facing the road ahead. Cole started the ignition and drove back home.
3. inscription on a note
Cole had been staring at his self portrait when he was much younger of age. His pose identical to that of existentialist writer Albert Camus. Jacket collars pressed against the nape of his neck, as they stood high under his jaw. With a half smouldered cigarette pressed between his lips. He leaned forward. The glare from the sun allowed his self reflection to project onto the photo. Cole saw an older, broken him. Shine from an eye began to twist, gently as tears filled his eyes.
Cole turned towards an electronic guitar. The sounds of the strings projected into his ear, very faint and soft. At the end of which he heard the choppy, ethereal vocals of a female. It faded out and then replayed over repeatedly within those few seconds that Cole heard it. It pulled at his heart strings. A pensively depressing feeling fell over him.
He made his way towards a desk and sat down with a pen and paper. And began writing an address and a passage of some sort. A confession? He would have no recollection of and later wouldn’t realise he had even written it.
2. a streak of light
Cole made his way inside his home. Stopped at a desk, removed his Ray-ban placing them onto the top surface of the desk. He stared at the record player playing, MEMORY OF FOOTSTEPS by Plastic Ono Band. Mused poignantly in the way it were sung by Yoko Ono. He hadn’t switched it on, but knew what could have. Cole gently removed the small hand-propelled machine off from the plastic disc and left the vinyl record disc swirl continuously.
His head dropped and eyes closed. He heard the words pass again as faint whispers. His head gently steered towards the stairs to his right. He stood still staring at it for a seconds with a blank mind. His heart had grown heavy. Cole saw a streak of light. He pulled the first drawer open and grabbed hold of a Polaroid camera, and captured a photo of it. His solemn eyes remained drawn to it. The drawer that contained several other Polaroid photos of this light Cole had taken since he caught the first sighting of it. He had never really known what it was, only that it appeared unexpectedly. Brow squashed, Cole glanced at the photo and then back towards the light. Gently he released the camera from his hand as it fell to the ground beside his foot, and began to follow it up the stairs.
The propelled machine gently rolled back onto the disc. It began playing.
1. a voice so familiar
He sat on the footsteps in front of his house, with an iPad held in his hands. Listening to a reading of Ray Bradbury’s short story, ALL SUMMER IN A DAY in the Paragraph Shorts app. Issue 13, 2nd story on the second row. Listening to it through the speakers with an empty headphone jack. The reading lasted 11 minutes and 45 seconds. He was a 49-year-old, with white-grey roots of his receding hairline. His puffy eye bags hidden away from the black Ray-ban aviator sunglasses. He wore a single digital hearing aid in the inner ear canal of his right ear.
Here he was, all by himself. His nostrils plugged by the clean aroma of mowed lawn, freshly cut grass. Cole Cambern could feel the soft breeze of air. The house was empty of a single person, excerpt Cole. There were never any relatives coming to see him or even hear of him, they never did. His wife had passed away three years ago, peacefully in her sleep. At the age of 46. Scarlett Cambern hadn’t been plagued by disease, just sailed across from natural causes.
Their daughter, Sylvia Cambern was a bright, beautiful young 26 year-old who graduated from Ohio State University two years ago. She looked so much like Mischa Barton. Cole hadn’t seen her for quite a long time.
The voice narrating the story abruptly went mute. He tried hard to listen. There was no voice. Cole had completely ignored the low-warning beep emitted from the hearing aid. By the time he would have stood up, the battery would have completely worn out anyway. He gently removed the hearing aid and placed it onto the ground beside him, next to an empty beer bottle of Heineken. Then plugged his middle finger into his left ear and shook sideways, clearing away the itchy sensation. Just as he was about to unplug his finger from his left ear, he heard words pass through his right ear. He paused abruptly. His brows squashed together only slightly. His eyes glinted. Removed his finger from his ear and sighed, quietly and deeply.
Cole was partially hearing impaired, especially deaf in his right ear. But he heard the words. Like he had done for the past few months. A voice so familiar. It invoke tears to his eyes with such powerful glint.
From Monday 10th to Sunday 16th June 2013. My short fiction THE WORDS FROM MY EARS #releases as micro-chapters on my #Wordpress. The short fiction received a great response. Here are a few of the rave reviews the short fiction received;
“I think it’s very good. Very tense and dramatic in the right places, but also quite descriptive and atmospheric where it needs to be. Cole is a great character, and you do a brilliant job of getting the reader to engage with him, especially in so few words.” -Kate Hanney
“I really enjoyed it Aamir – very gripping. You have a very individual writing style and it keeps the story interesting. The amount you have crammed in is quite amazing – to build a picture with relatively few words is impressive. Very good. You should write more like this.” -Rachel Philips
“This is my first time to read something with a supernatural theme. I am usually the suspense/legal thriller/mystery-first person POV type of audience but this one is gripping, and right on the spot. Very nicely written. You don’t know how fast I was able to picture the scene in my head. The way you described the atmosphere is just about enough to let me feel a father’s pain of losing his child–and I didn’t even know that was what happened! You are a brilliant writer. It would be a shame if you don’t write this for public.” -Anne