A small town becomes a central battleground between the forces of good and evil. Everyone living there will be forever changed...
Cumberly sat in the sun and baked. The heat always showed its ugly face in June and sunshine combined with the humidity was nearly unbearable. There was a warm breeze blowing in Carl’s face as he sat on his front porch. A board creaked under his weight while he rocked back and forth in his rocking chair. Nothing ever seemed to happen in this old town. It had reached its peak and now just waited to die. It was nearly four o’clock and the school bus was kicking up dust and making an awful racket. No kids lived on this street though. When Carl stopped the bus once, the driver had told him that it shaved nearly fifteen minutes off his route. He had been sweating something awful and seemed to tremble when he spoke to Carl. He had a bad disposition of sorts that day. And the sight of the 12-guage shotgun would make any man shake. Shortly after his exchange with Jimmie the bus driver, the Sheriff came out directly and warned Carl he could take away my guns for threatening someone. Sheriff Cooley was always fair with him for the most part. Carl told him that the damn bus kicks up the dust something awful and the kids press their white asses to the windows as they pass by. “Well Carl, you can’t just stop the bus and threaten Jimmie with a loaded shotgun. Where are your pills?” scolded Sheriff Cooley.
That was some months ago and now Jimmie just drove by trying to not look in Carl’s direction. He could hear thirty voices ranging in thirty different volumes and pitches as the rickety bus drove by. It sounded like a merry-go-round you would see at the county fair when it would come through Cumberly in mid-August. Carl had thought it would be fun to go one year. He got piss drunk and the hot August sun and mix of corny-dogs seemed to put him into some strange alternate reality. Everyone looked evil and seemed to mock Carl as he made my way to the merry-go-round. Sweat trickled into his eyes and distorted the shape of the horses. It looked like they all had stakes through their backs and their teeth were gnashing in pain. Mirrors and lights coupled with the ridiculous music was enough to drive any sane man crazy. Carl nearly knocked out the ride operator when he decided to give the whole bloody trip an extra go-around to the joyful cheers of teenage boys and girls. Everyone told him to calm down and the Sheriff had to be called in to restrain him. “Carl just because the damn ride operator gives the kids an extra spin doesn’t mean you can blow your lid and sock him one. Where are your pills?” said Sheriff Cooley. Urine had soaked his pants and all the local kids pointed with mischievous cackles and remarks. He hated them all, and had all night to think about as he sat in a jail cell. In the morning one of the deputies released Carl and reminded him what Sheriff Cooley had said the previous night.
Carl just tried to stay on the front porch these days. If he forgot to take his medicine, bad things seemed to happen. He could almost hear the voices creeping up on him as my last pill would wear off. They would come through like faint whispering and slowly grow louder and louder. “The crash of the cymbals begins the day. Trumpets trumpet the sound of play. Lilacs drunk from the morning breeze stagger in the wet grass.” Of course he always thought someone was after him. Whether it was the postman or the paper delivery boy, no one was safe from Carl if he had forgotten to take his medicine. The pills he had to take were about the size of a quarter. They were hard to swallow and made his whole face dry out. Slowly the voices would start to retreat as the medicine entered his bloodstream. For about six hours Carl would be numb to the world around him.
The house seemed to turn into different shapes around Carl while menacing shadows danced from wall to wall. He wouldn’t know if the sun was rising or setting. As the pills would wear off the house seemed to reshape itself and become familiar to him once more. The murmur of a single voice would grow louder, and then turn into more and more voices. Carl never recognized any of the voices. They all seemed to talk about things he had no previous knowledge about. “A dirty sneaker on white carpet is obscenely out of place. Perhaps a muddy stiletto heel and a boot with remnants of last week’s car trouble would be more appropriate. The stiletto heel is free to go but the dirty sneaker must remain in the white tiled foyer.”
How was Carl’s own brain creating them? All of the doctors seemed to be very concerned about his affliction. They told him he would be better off in a home where he could be monitored for “his own safety.” Carl thought it was all a bunch of poppy-cock. His mother had always told him he was special. She never said he was batty as all shit. She would hold him close to her breasts and tell him everything would be alright. Carl could almost still smell her hair when he thought about her holding him. Carl’s father told him how crazy he was every night when he would stumble home in a drunken stupor. When Carl was much smaller than his father, he would grab him by the throat and tell him he would be better off if he just crushed my windpipe. “Carl, you are a fucking crazy piece of shit and I curse the day you were born.” He had often tried to imagine the life fading from my body as if his father had actually done it. Carl would hold his breath as long as possible and blackout. As he was blacking out, Carl felt like he was travelling to other dimensions. Or at least his soul was travelling to other dimensions. He would awake thinking he had seen things no other person had. Or had they?