Carrie Viens



Phantom Space


I was alone in my sorry little room when it all began.  I was sitting at my desk just leaning back and staring at the ceiling expecting nothing.  Nevertheless, there was something brewing in my small dank little chamber; something distinctive.  It was then that I could hear their voices; the whispers from in the shadows.  They were all around me.  I can’t see them.  I only hear their hum of innuendo.  These voices haunt me.  I can’t seem to leave this little brown room anymore.  I can’t go anywhere at all, the voices won’t let me, and they follow me.  They know all I do, what I think, what I feel, and they taunt me with it.  So I don’t go out I stay here safe and alone.


I sit here in this room by my little window.  Just sit in my tilted chair at my rickety and splintered little desk.  It is here I try to write the words they say, but the voices are so quiet, so very very quiet.  I strain my ears trying to hear them, but the more I listen the softer they speak.  It is so lonely here.  In my grimy little brown room, with only my bed and desk for comfort.  


The old pot-belly stove in the corner doesn’t throw much warmth now days.  You see I can’t afford to light it very often.  So my garments hang all about but never dry.  I’ve given up on washing them.  I have no soap anyway.  The whispers hiss and laugh.  They think me funny or more likely pathetic; all alone wrapped in my soiled sheets.  


I spend a lot of time at my warped shaky little desk.  The pages of my journal lay upon it.  Curled and smudged with scratchy pictures, desperate scrawls, and thick black splotches of ink.  The voices come from them; from the dark and the blackness of the ink.  I try so hard to hear what they say, but they won’t let me.  Sometimes I sit there, at my desk, and run my fingers over the pages creating thick fluid smears of ink.   The murmurs come strong from within the ink.  They come from every dark space in my room.  It seems like they are everywhere now in and out.  Jeering me in a slur of hushed tones, but still I sit there day after day cold and itching.  


The skies seem darker now; they grow grayer and grayer with each passing moment.  Day into night, night into day; the difference between the two has diminished.  The darkness and shadow crawls in with the gloom.  It takes over every corner of my room until there is barely even a faint adumbration of myself left.  The voices mutter from every corner of my room now; a roaring din from day to night, night to day.  They are all around me.   Yet I can hear them no better.  But I feel the mockery of their tone, the harsh raspy breath of their words.  I can not understand them.  Why can I not understand them?  All I hear are bits and pieces of persecutions and vicious lies.


There is so much noise hidden in the shadow.  I can not sleep.  I lay awake staring into the darkness where they live and chatter away.  I’ve begun to leave my light on as much as I can, but the way the hanging bulb creaks and sways as it dangles from crooked wires is maddening.  Sometimes I count the movements; left to right, left to right, over and over again.  I can’t imagine why it swings like this.  My window does not open and there never was a soothing breeze in this tiny room, just the creaking of a dusty seventy watt bulb.  The groan of the wire rocking through the air is at times worse than all their muted utterances.  I can see and hear the swishy light teasing me.  But what can I do?  Without my light the shadows whisper more and more.  Sometimes I crouch upon my bed draped in all my grubby linens and wave back and forth with the gesticulations of the light: back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.


I gets lonely here, so lonely.  All alone surrounded by these cracked and peeling walls.  One wall is swollen and blistered from moisture.  The light shines on this wall making it glisten.  It looks so friendly, so safe.  From time to time I find myself resting my head against the wall.  I look at the soft round pouches that have formed there.  And I press my hands against the blistered paint; just to watch it and to feel it move.  It’s almost like living flesh: soft, smooth, and ever so slightly moist.  I pretend I am lying next to someone, gently tracing my fingers over the curve of their knee or possibly the small of their back.  It is silly and I know the voices laugh at me for this.  I feel their murmured mocking insinuations leaking out from the shadows.   There words spill forth in hushed tones as they slowly slide innuendos beneath the door.  


Oh how I hate them with their secretive expressions.  It’s their fault I’m like this.  They are what keep me here locked away all alone.  If only I could understand them.  Then things would be different.  Maybe they would be.  They would have to.  The whispering shadows are cruel taunting beasts.  They will never let me hear them.  They only display my inequities with their unintelligible annunciations.  I hate them, but I’m certain I would be lost with out them.  It is the voices hidden in the dark that let me know I’m real.  I would be completely lost and ever so lonely without them.  Lonelier still than I am locked away in this, my brown little room. Here where only my shabby brown walls, my desk, bed, and me live; all alone with only the shadows’ mumbled voices to keep us company.


Carrie Viens © 2010