Nothing felt colder than the next car journey. The windows blasted cool air into the speeding vehicle, but Tobias couldn’t bear to ask his parents to put their windows up. Tobias assumed that the windows were not down because his parents were hot, but because they wanted to drown out any sound from their son. Such predictable questions as:
‘Where are we going?’
‘What did Dr Andy say?’
But the only thing that Tobias wanted to say to his parents was that he was sorry. Sorry for inflicting this awkward and difficult issue upon them. Tobias knew that the Voices were not a pleasant sign, but he wanted his parents to help him, rather than shun him and ignore him. It must have been hard for them to accept, similar to the way that it had been for Tobias when he had first heard the Voices. The mixture of emotions powering through, making the situation even more difficult. Confusion, concern, anger, sadness… The list seemed to go on and on in Tobias’ mind. Despite the different ways in which the Voices were effecting Tobias and his parents, he couldn’t help but feel somewhat closer to them. He knew exactly how they were feeling right now. Scared and confused. And unfortunately they were taking that out on their son. Tobias tried to understand how they felt, and he found it relatively easy, for Tobias and his parents were feeling the exact same way. They were just a few days behind him.
Tobias considered his own feelings towards the Voices. Since the previous night when he had told his parents the startling truth, Tobias had been focussing on how they were taking the news, and how their reactions would take their toll on the family. But he hadn’t had time to think about his own feelings. How the Voices were treating him now that he had betrayed them, effectively. He hadn’t heard a sound from them since the previous night. Since he had turned his back on them…
Maybe this was the end of all of it. Maybe, now that he was ignoring them, and firmly refusing to listen and obey, maybe now he could be free of the Voices, the Gifted, and the Dark.
For the first time, Tobias listened carefully, willing the Voices to speak, to make any sound, give any signal, so that Tobias wasn’t given any false hope. If they were going to return, Tobias wanted it to be now, so that he would know that it was hopeless to expect their departure. Tobias listened in to his own mind, trying desperately to hear half a conversation, one Voice alone, the horrible repetition of any words again and again… But there was nothing. Maybe the Voices were really gone. Maybe they had learnt. Maybe they had accepted that Tobias was not the person they needed.
As no audible Voices displayed themselves, Tobias’ stomach lurched in joy, jumping to the conclusion that they had well and truly gone now, and he was free to do whatever he wanted, without them telling him what to do.
For a moment, Tobias was tempted to grab his parents, distract them from whatever or wherever their next destination was, and yell at the top of his voice that he had been wrong. There were never any Voices, it was just his imagination, and now he realised that he was being silly.
People don’t hear Voices! And neither did I!
Tobias felt a smile appear on his face. The first genuine one since the ordeal had began. They’d be happy to hear of it, relieved, even. Tobias had done all the damage he could do. Maybe they’d still be a little concerned, but they’d be happy that their son was no longer crazy!
That settled it. The Voices were yet to interrupt and inform Tobias that he had been wrong about them. They really must have left him. He had to share the news.
‘Mum?’ He began, ignoring whether or not she was listening. Tobias took a breath, debating with himself the best way to phrase it. Maybe he should just come right out with it.
We will not turn our backs on you. We need you.Tobias was interrupted.