An unedited excerpt from my upcoming work

An Unintended Invitation to Death

Coming in 2021

Even when the first voice began to talk to him, Cole wasn’t too alarmed. The voice was quiet and … well, it was helpful. There wasn’t much work after the accident, not for a brain-damaged young man, but the quiet voice continually led him to odd jobs which helped pay the bills. Cole even began to wonder if it was an Angel talking to him, perhaps guiding him. In some ways, the voice was another miracle.

The miracle began to wear thin, however, when the second voice began to speak. It first happened when he was helping care for a community garden on the outskirts of the Big City. The quiet voice had directed him to the garden in the first place and the verdant greenery of the place was soothing for Cole.

The second voice, the one Cole came to consider the big voice (as opposed to the quiet little voice) spoke to him one sunny day. Cole was weeding the tomato plants, delicately picking the weeds away and stuffing them into a basket which he would later dump in the compost pile.

“It would be much quicker if you used the weed killer,” a voice boomed in Cole’s ear. He spun around and found himself alone in the garden. Although he didn’t know where the voice had come from, he was sure it wasn’t anything like the quiet voice he had come to depend on for guidance.

The little voice was his own. Or rather, it was his subconscious. Cole was certain of that. But the new voice had a mocking tone to it which concerned him. Instead of being helpful, like the little voice, the new voice filled Cole with a sense of dread.

After a few moments, he went back to weeding.

“I said, it would be much quicker if you used the week killer,” the big voice bellowed. This time, Cole didn’t twirl around to confront the voice. This time, he knew it was coming from inside his head. But this wasn’t his subconscious, this was some psychotic hitchhiker who was trying to goad him. He wiped the sweat off his forehead, streaking it with dirt.

“No,” Cole said, quietly, “the weed killer they use around here is only for the paths and walkways. It’s powerful stuff, what they call an indiscriminate killer. If I use it on the tomato plants, they’ll die.” He went back to weeding, hoping his explanation would quiet the big voice.

“An indiscriminate killer, eh? I like the sound of that.” The big voice had changed from a goading tone to one of thoughtful malignancy. It chuckled.

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