Fractured Fragment Friday: “The Voices”

Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies has released today, so it only seems appropriate to use yet another of the stories from the collection on this Fractured Fragment Friday. Here’s the blurb from “The Voices”:

Billy Thompson knows the voices are real, even if they are just in his head. Or are they coming from somewhere else?

And here’s the excerpt:VoicesCover

Billy Thompson heard the voices since before he could understand spoken words. His little newborn head would bobble about, trying to identify where the sounds were coming from. In time, he realized that the higher, more musical voice was his mother, the deeper, rumbling rocks sort of voice was his father.

There were other voices he heard in the hospital room that stayed there. He learned that this was the case with many voices – they and the people they came from were often moored to a place – doctors and nurses at the hospital, relatives at their house, clerks in stores, neighbors on the street. He didn’t have to work too hard to identify these voices, because they generally stayed put.

As his motor skills improved, and his eyes were better able to focus, he could more specifically tie voices to people instead of just places, so if Billy heard Dr. Jenkins’ voice outside the hospital, say when he was at the grocery store with his mother, Billy knew whose voice it was.

There were some voices, though, that he struggled to locate, but without success. In the early days, his head would flop this way and that, and he could tell from the laughter of the older people around him that maybe he shouldn’t be flailing around so much. But even as he got older, his improved reflexes and motor control didn’t help him locate the source.

These voices were with him always, even more than his mother, and they talked to him wherever he was. He tried experimentally asking others around him “Did you hear that?”, or the safer “What did you say?”, and in this fashion he figured out that other people couldn’t hear these voices; they were attached to – and only there for – him.

There were several of these voices that came and went, but there were three that stuck around, and they did most of the talking. They had names that fit them, and with which they seemed content, although he couldn’t remember whether they came with their own, or if he provided them. There was Henrietta, who was a little high-pitched and high-strung; she tended to see all the things that could go wrong and was constantly cautioning Billy not to do things, much to the consternation of Burton, who bullishly trumpeted about how she “had to let the boy do what a boy’s gotta do!” Whenever Billy got himself into some situation that he really shouldn’t have it was usually Burt’s doing, but he quickly learned that this was not a good defense if he was talking with anyone other than his voices, so he kept Burt’s involvement to himself.

The two of them would have driven him crazy without Laura to level things out. Where Henrietta and Burt sounded like adults, he thought of Laura as more his age, and he trusted her. She wasn’t bossy like Burton, or a worrywart like Henrietta, and although she never tried to talk Billy into or out of anything, she was always there to support and help him once he decided, and more than a few times had gotten him out of sticky situations. He thought of her as the kind of friend who would keep things from getting so bad that your parents couldn’t help but find out about them; instead, she made Billy seem like the luckiest or smartest kid on the block, but he knew where both of those attributes were coming from.

Even Burt, Henrietta and the others had their moments. The voices told Billy lots of things, some just plain helpful (“Your Mom will like the yellow one”), some encouraging (“You’re faster than him – you can get home before they catch you”), and some maybe not so helpful, but he could always count on Laura to help filter out the ones that would do more harm than good.

Best of all were the times when the voices told him something that was going to happen. We’re not talking about Henrietta’s cautions about how he was going to get hurt or in trouble (which were not always true), or Burt’ admonitions that if he listened to Henrietta then he’d labelled a sissy-boy and the bullying would get worse (which often were.) The predictions that mattered usually came from one of the unnamed voices. Rationally, he knew that these must have been coming and going all along, but how likely was he to remember anything he heard before he was six? That’s how old he was when one of the voices woke him in the middle of the night and told him that his grandma had gone on to heaven.

The next morning at breakfast he asked his Mother, “Did Grandma Fredericks die last night?”

“Why, no, of course not,” his mom said, and just then the phone rang. She answered it, and as she was listening she stared at him, tears coming to her eyes.

When she was off the phone she asked him, “How did you know?”

By now he already knew not to say anything about the voices.

“I just had a dream,” he said.

If only that was all it was… This short, speculative fiction is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889532

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GH57XB6

It’s also included in the collection Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies listed below. Listen to what the Voices are telling you (you CAN hear them, can’t you?) and read “The Voices.” Just saying…


Collection10 CoverThis is the release day for Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies! The collection contains the following stories: “There’s No Present Like the Time”, “Cellfishness”, “Out of Place”, “All the News That’s Fit for You”, “Interview with the Blue Neon God”, “Goddesses”, “Victimless”, “Stalking Rebecca”, “Sleep with the Snowmen”, and the “The Voices.”

Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies will remain at its REDUCED PROMOTIONAL PRICE through the weekend at various online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/906524

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KFQGLSR

(there is also a paperback edition available)


BreathingCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing – including his previous release “Breathing is Overrated” (I may have mentioned that this was one of my three Honorable Mentions in the Writers of the Future contest) – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri

• His site on WordPress:  https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s