Disclaimer: Any and all concepts and ideas relating to The Crow are the sole property of J. O’Barr.
I can hear the little voices inside your head, can’t you hear them too? I can hear the little voices inside your head and they sound angry.
—they sound angry.
The little voices inside—
They want to hurt something.
I can hear the little voices inside your head—
The dreams were always the same and his reaction to them was always the same; wake up and shiver and fear the rest of the night away. Wait for the dawn to break, for the shadows to be eaten up by the encroaching daylight.
Mainly, though, shiver. Shiver and fear. He did it well.
He hid it well.
He had to hide it well, they might be watching. They were always watching.
Watching, and whispering their secrets to each other in dead voices. He used to be able to drown them out with alcohol; a willing partnership with a Mr. Daniels that pickled his insides, soured his mind and stifled the dead voices.
But Mr. Daniels is a fickle partner to make a deal with, and he always asks a price that seems reasonable, but is, in reality, far too much.
The little voices—
Half a bottle used to kill them for the whole day.
They got stronger, louder, and then it took a whole bottle to wrap his mind in the blessed silence of fermented liquid dreams.
—angry and they want to hurt—
Some stretch of time later— he couldn’t tell you when; the days and nights all blur into one long stretch of meaningless sensation for him now— he awoke shivering and fearing in the deep, dark moment past midnight, and he knew that Mr. Daniels had raised his price again.
The long wait until the sun rose saw him crouched in the grimy bathroom of the cheap motel room he was currently rotting in. The mirror above the sink was already broken; his fisted hands stung as he stretched the scabbed over wounds across his knuckles.
He’d seen a face in the mirror yesterday. A dead face from the past, and he hit the mirror, shattering it into a crazy spider-web of reflections. Some part of him hopes that the dead face is trapped in one of the gleaming facets, but deep down he knows better.
If the face was trapped, then it wouldn’t be whispering to him in the night.
Can’t you hear the little voices too?
Dredged up strength had allowed him to tear a strip off the bottom of the mould spotted and discoloured shower curtain and he wrapped it around his hand and then gripped one of the largest shards of mirror in his hand.
He hunched down beside the toilet, down amongst the grime on the cracked linoleum, and he held his mirror-knife in front of him until the sun light crept through the window and across the floor, like a whipped dog.
Hacking up a laugh, he uncurled tense and numb limbs and slipped out of the apartment, into the warm spring day.
Daylight meant safety, and he managed to swagger out to the street and through the neighbourhood. Money; he needed money to meet Mr. Daniels’ raised price, money he didn’t have.
Not a problem. There’s a park not too far away, a park with many winding paths and lots of trees.
He hid in a bush, thought that he was a tiger, and he waited.
A girl walked past— young and fresh and he wanted her and she would be perfect but then—
The little voices are angry and they want to hurt something and that something is you and they are coming—
He almost screamed— he hadn’t realised that the price was now that high; daylight was supposed to be his time, safe from the dead voices.
They couldn’t be heard in the daylight, the sun drowned them out with white noise—
For a moment, as he looked at the girl, as she walked past, completely unaware, he thought he saw the dead face, overlaying hers. That thought made him shiver and shake and it was almost evening time before he could move again.
He needed money more than ever, now.
When he did move, it was to explode out of the bush and punch the old man walking past in the head. The old man went down like a tree felled by a woodsman. The old man’s dog spun around and opened its mouth to bark, but he was ready and he lashed out with one urine-soaked foot, catching it under the chin.
Its head jerked upwards with a wet crack, it twitched, fell over, then lay still.
The cool air condensed into the wet stains on his jeans as he roughly riffled through the still old man’s pockets.
There was enough, barely.
He ran. It was nearly dark.
—voices, can’t you hear them too?
They want to hurt something.
In his room, he stripped off his clothes and shoes. His jeans and shoes were sodden and rank smelling. He didn’t have another pair and ended up in just his shirt and a pair of boxers.
The bottles were together in a paper bag. The noise they made as they rattled together in his hands was like the chiming of angel bells.
Two bottles. He needed them.
That something they want to hurt is you—
I can hear the little voices inside your head.
He didn’t bother with a glass— hadn’t bothered with a glass for months now, slugged it straight out the bottle and welcomed the fiery burn as it swirled down his throat and began to bake his insides in a chemical glow.
It didn’t act as quickly or as thoroughly as it used to, and he was most of the way through the second bottle before he began to feel the lethargic relaxation spread through his limbs.
The inside of his head was simmering and fizzing as the alcohol ate up his memories and choked the breath out of the dead voices.
Mr. Daniels was his friend with the cupful of oblivion.
He must have fallen asleep and not realised it. His eyes felt sticky as he tried to open them and his eyes refused to focus properly. The single light mounted in the ceiling was still on, and its jaundiced glow easily defined the figure standing in front of him.
She was female.
She was female and she was wearing black clothes that looked like the newest fashion called the graveyard look.
He blinked his eyes and squinted. She had pretty legs. Her top was ripped across her chest, and through the rip he could see her pale skin, and the jagged purple line of the scar that traced downwards.
I can hear the little voices inside your head—
He tried to sit up from his sprawl, and found his limbs sluggish— still in thrall to the chemical oblivion of Mr. Daniels. He tried to look further upwards, and felt his head loll slightly as his body ignored him.
The little voices want to hurt somebody. That somebody is you.
She had black lines drawn around her eyes, like a bizarre parody of a scarecrow, and a wide black smile was painted across her lips and cheeks. One of her eyes was a blank film, the brown colour of old haemorrhage, and the other was clear and bright and blue.
Can’t you hear them too? I can hear the little voices inside your head and—
She was staring at him and he knew her—
There was a bird sitting on her shoulder and it was watching him also. It was the biggest, meanest looking bird he had ever seen. It was the black of the silences between the words of the dead voices, and it was staring at him.
I can hear the little voices inside your head, can’t you hear them too?
Underneath the face paint, her face was the dead face from the mirror.
You are going to die.
He tried to shout, but instead could only manage an alcoholic whimper, which made her laugh softly, and when she laughed he couldn’t hear the sound of his own pathetic voice, couldn’t even hear his own breath.
I can hear—
—can’t you hear them too?
All he could hear was the silence made by otherworldly white noise.
I am the little voices inside your head.
Can’t you hear me?
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