Listening to the Voice

November 9, 2010
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Ideas swam through his head, at times blocking out the world, becoming his only object of concern. They were driving him insane; every single thought seemed to relate back to these ideas. Pushing them into his subconscious only seemed to provide temporary relief, the dreams continued to haunt him through his dreams.

The ideas were almost like memories; memories of places that he had never been, nor wanted to go. Memories that spoke through different languages, gibberish to him, and yet were powerful enough to tug at the very strings of his soul. Ignoring them was impossible. But, he admitted to himself, I don’t really want to ignore them. He wanted to own those memories, not just see them in his mind’s eye. For this reason, he had missed the bus that would take him to college, to what his parents thought was best, and was waiting for the next bus. Its destination undefined.

Maybe I can silence these voices, he thought, watching as that bus drew up to the curb.

In ten years, millions of steps had found him just outside the steps of yet another temple. He now owned those memories that had so long ago plagued him, and yet the voices did not stop. From the original voices sprang more voices, the end never seeming to be insight. Then, the voices stopped completely. In a second, they were gone. Now, half way around the world, he searched for answers. He had followed the voices, and now the voices had left him. What was to become of him?

Amaravati temple stretched before him. Knowledge wouldn’t give him the answer, but maybe religion would. Faith, after all was a powerful thing. This he already knew.

The doors swung wide, entering into a large pyramid shaped room, the Hindu’s supreme god, Shiva, in its center. Though he was not Hindu, it did not matter. This was considered holy ground, and for his purposes it would suffice. He kneeled to the ground, bowed his head and began to pray.

Darkness fell outside, and exhaustion finally engulfed him. Not having any place to go anyway, he curled up on the floor, and slept.

Memories flashed in front of him on the screen. The theater was abandoned, musk smelling and dust covered. He could name every memory; most of them fond, but others were those that he wished to forget. After the memories of the past ten years faded, his childhood flashed before him, things that he had long forgotten. Tears rolled down his cheeks, he thought of the things that he had left behind. When the screen finally went black, a woman, tall and exotic, came out from behind it. She quickly walked up the isle, and when she was next to him, gently whispered:

“Memories are meant to be shared.”

His eyes shot open, his body drenched in sweat. For several moments, he lay there in the gloom, forcing his breathe and heart into a normal rhythm. Finally, he sat up, looking fixedly at the dark shadow of the supreme god.

Memories are meant to be shared; the idol seemed to whisper to him.

He stood up slowly, and, just as slowly walked out of the temple.

The morning sunlight flooded the little hotel room. The woman’s words still haunted him, but at least now he understood them. At least now he had his answer.

He sat at the desk, fingers positioned on the keys. Every day of his life had led up to this legend that was only just starting to unfold on the blank page. It didn’t matter if his stories didn’t sell. What mattered was putting it down on the page, putting it out there into the world. If only one person’s life was enriched by his work, his life would be complete.

The page was half filled, as the memories flowed smoothly and easily. If just one person, he thought, is inspired to listen to the voices, I will have been fulfilled.

As he typed away, he didn’t even have the slightest idea that his novels would set sale records, or that millions would be inspired by his own quest to listen to the voices.

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