The days passed, in an uncountable number. But soon the days became weeks. And those weeks passed as fast as days. And then those weeks became months. And those months became blurs.
Now he would find himself muttering, "Charlie?" It was as if his tongue was tasting the sound, seeing if it was right - Testing it. The prospect of having a name, having an identity, was exciting to him.
But the fear dwarfed any excitement. Who was it that spoke, he would think. Or maybe I was hearing things, he would reply. Am I Charlie, he would ponder. Who is Charlie, he would question.
Alas, his fears, questions, ponderings and tests would go unprotected, unanswered and ignored by the vast silence. But he was too afraid to declare himself Charlie, weighed down as if an anchor was resting in his gut, using his voice cords for rope and his courage as balance.
For now he was nameless, just a face in a faceless crowd.
"Charlie." He would declare. "Am I Charlie?" He would question. "C... H... A..." He would spell the name out at night, hoping it could resurrect a meaning to the name - But nothing came to him, except the voice he had heard that night. The raw memory, the trepidation he felt at each word it spoke.
And then he would ponder was it speaking at all, was it simply a thought that escaped his consciousness? He would grow uneasy in himself, until his eyes would grow as weary as his head and the night would take him to dawn.
The morn would bring no repute. His thoughts were something he could not escape, they were his prison, but what was his crime?
"Why am I being punished?!" Sometimes he would scream the words, so loud they came back at him, only they were neutered by the echo, a shadow of what they were when he spoke them.
Just as he was a shadow of himself, a glimpse of the man that fought through everyday in isolation. He lived in the monuments to men, the structures that housed great firms and fine homes - But he lived, survived, struggled and cried widowed from the world.
The last true bachelor.
It was on a walk that he heard it again, for the second time. Not a dream, nor a nightmare. But it was the breaking of the silence he longed for, that moment of clarity that metaphorically cried "you are not alone" - It was the name he had before, the one he wasn't sure if it was his or not.
"Charlie." It called, the voice not distinctively male or female, but human nonetheless. "Charlie," it would say again soothingly. "I have found you again, Charlie."
His face was trying to hide a smile, but the tears were not so easily disguised. He spoke down to the ground, almost afraid to say it.
"Speak up Charlie, the world should hear you," the voice was honest."
He brought his head up, and spoke into the structured decay - "I am Charlie." He beamed with confidence, he thought he remembered who he was. He thought he remembered who Charlie was, and then the voice rang out for a final time.
"Then run, Charlie."