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I woke with a start and instant panic. I expected to be in a jail cell. To my great surprise, I was not. I was home. On my couch, in fresh clothes, completely clean. I should have been happy.
I had just been running from the police. I had just killed an innocent woman because the voices in my head had told me to kill her. She was too boring to live and therefore she had to be put to her end.
Was it all a dream?
There’s no way. I can still remember how it felt to run that sharp knife across her throat. So much blood.
I shook my head to try to get the memories out of it. Obviously, that didn’t work. They were lodged at the front of my brain so they could replay in front of my eyes on an infinite loop. I definitely could not have dreamed it. I remembered it far too well for it to have been a simple dream.
The last thing I could recall was running from the cops. I had confessed to my sins as I ran, praying the whole time that they wouldn’t shoot.
That’s when the voice in my head had revealed that it betrayed me.
It wanted me to stop running. Wanted me to take that bullet. Wanted me dead. Wanted me gone.
The anger started to flare up inside me. Anger at myself and anger at that stupid voice. Why did I listen to it in the first place? I should have known better. It’s never gone this far before! Nothing has ever come to violence!
My mind started to wonder. What day is it? Has anyone reported the story yet? If the cops were chasing me, someone has to have reported on it.
I got up and turned on the TV, searching for local news.
11 AM. The day after. I was sure there would be something about it. Some obnoxious headline like, “WONDERFUL LOCAL WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN HOME, NEIGHBORS BESIDE THEMSELVES WITH SORROW.” Something dumb and completely untrue. No one was going to actually care that Olivia had been murdered. They’d only care that their neighborhood would feel unsafe now. I scoffed. People are pathetic, selfish creatures.
I watched the news and there was nothing. Nothing at all. Maddened by the lack of a story, I switched to a different station. Still nothing.
Maybe no one cared at all.
That can’t be possible. Even if no one cared, they’d still be looking for me. Can’t have a mad murderer on the loose. He might kill someone important.
Did I….did I not kill her?
No, that can’t be. I can still smell her blood.
I started pacing. This wasn’t right. I know I killed Olivia. I’m absolutely sure of it.
But why aren’t there cops breaking down my door right now? Why is there nothing about her death? Her murder?
Internet! The internet would know!
I rushed to my computer and started searching every phrase I could think of that would lead me to something about Olivia. There was still nothing.
It was like she never existed to begin with.
Paranoia took over. Maybe she hadn’t existed. The voice. The voice could have created it all! That’s exactly something he would do.
No, no. I remember too much of her, too much of killing her. She had to be real.
I became very frustrated and very determined to find out if Olivia was still alive. Or if she was ever alive to begin with. But I couldn’t get caught. I’d have to be careful and sneaky.
I started stalking Olivia again, in a way.
I went to all the places she normally went, all the places I had been before. That wouldn’t be suspicious. I’d been seen at these places before so I couldn’t possibly be seen as out of place. Boy, did I feel out of place, though. It felt like everyone knew. They all knew why I was there. They could see my fear and paranoia all over my face. I marched the aisles of the grocery store, as guilty as can be! This was a horrible idea!
I tried to stay unnoticed when I checked her work. I watched outside for her to come or go. She did neither.
Frustration was building.
I couldn’t possibly check her house. That would be beyond idiotic of me.
That’s it, it’s a trap!
That’s why it wasn’t on the news or anywhere on the internet. It was all a trap! They knew I was stalking her. They had to know. And what do crazy stalkers do? They go back to the scene of the crime! Especially if they don’t see their crime blasted all over the news! Right? Right. That’s it. They thought they had me, but I’m smarter than that!
I started laughing. Now, people were watching.
Panicked, I fled home.
A few days passed and my paranoia returned. There had still been nothing on the news about Olivia. Nothing at all. There should have been something out there days after she had her throat slit.
The doubts flowed through my mind. She wasn’t real. She was real and I didn’t kill her. I did kill her and no one cared. No one cared.
No one cared.
I had to figure it out. Something was wrong here and I had to figure it out.
I gave in.
I went back to the house. Back to her house. Olivia’s house.
I snuck around to the back of the house. I peeked through the window. Everything was the same.
Everything but the fact that Olivia didn’t live there. The woman inside was definitely not Olivia. She didn’t look a thing like her.
Was she not…? No, I couldn’t let myself think that.
I was dumbfounded as I stared at this woman. Not Oliva. Whoever she was. I was so caught off guard that I almost got caught myself. She headed towards the window and I ducked down just in time. I sat on the ground cursing myself. Nothing made any sense.
I became obsessed with Olivia all over again.
I stalked every place I had before, getting sloppier and sloppier with each visit. I hadn’t showered or slept in what felt like weeks. I couldn’t sleep without having an answer.
I had to know if she was real.
I had to know what happened.
Had to know.
That’s when it finally happened.
I was pacing the road outside of her house. I’d lost all ability to be stealthy. My mind was racing constantly. I fell right into the madness.
Not Olivia called the cops. Lost in my own little Olivia world, I didn’t even see them. I didn’t hear them.
From freedom to handcuffs to a jail cell. It was like someone had made jump cuts in my memory. There was nothing in between for me.
As I sat alone in my jail cell, the voice in my head returned. Laughing. Laughing so loud I covered my ears against it. Obviously, it made no difference. He’s inside my head.
He told me I’m a fool. He’s correct. Absolutely correct. Maybe even generous. I’m much worse than a fool. So much worse.
He told me I could have been out of my pain and suffering. I shouldn’t have ran. I should have just let them kill me the first time. They won’t kill me now, but I’ll never be free again. He says it’s an even worse punishment. I know he’s not wrong. I did kill Olivia. He hid the news from me. The woman was her sister, there to sort through her belongings and sort out her affairs.
I’m so stupid.
He always wins.